UK’s Tempest fighter jet enters next phase with new design contract

The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) awarded BAE Systems a contract of £250 million ($348 million) to progress the design and development of Tempest, the UK’s Future Combat Air System (FCAS). The contract officially marks the start of the program’s concept and assessment phase.

The UK government’s continued support for the Tempest project underlines its confidence in the progress and maturity of the program, which is set to deliver the military, industrial and economical requirements of the national combat air strategy.

Many domestic and foreign companies are taking part in the Tempest program. Among them are giant companies such as BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, MBDA UK, and Rolls-Royce. Under the new contract, the partners will develop a range of digital concepts, embedding new tools and techniques to design, evaluate and shape the final design and capability requirements of the Tempest sixth-generation fighter jet.

The “Tempest” program foresees the development of the main aircraft connected with other cutting-edge technologies, including those assisted by Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, and autonomous systems to meet the capability requirements of future conflicts and should be operational in the mid-2030s. When the Tempest enters service in 2035, it will work alongside the Typhoon Eurofighter and the Lockheed Martin F-5 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter before eventually replacing them in the 2040s.

The Team Tempest partners are working with companies in their supply chain to drive digital transformation, embedding a digital enterprise through the ecosystem, embracing an agile approach that will deliver a combination of advanced technologies, efficiency, speed of production, and lower costs.

Working with our industry partners and the Ministry of Defence, we are on track to deliver an ambitious program for the UK, which will provide a highly advanced and sophisticated air defense capability, capable of countering future threats and safeguarding our national security and defense,” said Chris Boardman, Group Managing Director of BAE Systems Air Sector. “The funding announced today marks a critical next step for the program and, with our partners, we will work together to define the technical and capability requirements and develop the concept which will bring Tempest to life.

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