Team Tempest, led by British BA Systems, wins £250 million UK contract for sixth generation air combat systems
The Tempest program begins in the UK.
On 29 July, the British government provided a new £250 million (€294 million) loan for the new phase of the Tempest, a sixth generation air combat system programme.
With the contract signed between the government and BAE Systems – the flagship company of Team Tempest which also includes Leonardo UK, Rolls-Royce and MBDA UK – the project enters the concept and evaluation phase.
all the details.
Contract awarded by UK Defense
Announcing the contract during BAE Systems’ visit to the Warton site, the UK’s Secretary of Defense, Ben Wallace, said it would be “an important step in the next phase of our future fighter aircraft system”.
The Tempest program included the development of a core aircraft (sixth generation fighter) along with other core technologies, such as unmanned aircraft and advanced data analysis systems.
The British government’s announcement pertains to a contract that includes investments for the development of digital and physical infrastructure on which the program will be based, based on the “Digital First” strategy, thanks to which design and simulation can significantly reduce costs, time and emissions.
Significance of the Tempest for the United Kingdom
The government’s head for Future Air Combat Capabilities, Richard Berthan, described the project as “extremely important in ensuring that the UK and its allies have the skills and technology we need to give us the edge to win the battle of the future”.
The ministry said the latter contract is part of the government’s investment of more than £2 billion, which will be implemented over the next four years.
The UK has already pledged £2 billion for a program launched in 2018, which aims to start production by 2025 with the delivery of the fighter aircraft system by 2035. The sixth generation stealth fighter is expected to replace the Eurofighter Typhoon from 2040.
Also on board Italy and Sweden
Italy and Sweden also participate in the Sixth Generation Fighter Fighter Program.
On 21 December, the Minister of Defence, Lorenzo Guerini (PD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (Memorandum of Understanding) with his counterparts in the United Kingdom and Sweden, which governs equal cooperation between the three countries in the context of the Tempest programme. With the intention of sharing the development workload.
Recall that the three national industries include the main defense companies of the United Kingdom (BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, Rolls Royce and MBDA UK), Italy (Leonardo Italia, Electronics, Avio Aero and MBDA Italy) and Sweden (Saab and GKN Aerospace Sweden). Huh. )
Leonardo’s CEO, Alessandro Profumo, said on the sidelines of the group’s six-monthly report that “this move will further spur further initiatives, which in the coming years will contribute strongly to the technological innovation of the countries that will participate in it.” “.
And the Italian defense?
“On the Italian front, after the signing of the tripartite Memorandum of Understanding between the British, Italian and Swedish Defense Ministers last December, there is no news”, explains the director of to rid, Pietro Batacchi. “Some indications may come from the 2021 DPP – expected in parliament by the end of April, but as late as ever due to fierce internal conflicts within the armed forces – that will allow us to understand whether the Tempest program is still a priority, but funded. No, as in the 2020 DPP, or if there is an initial financing”.
“It is not a secondary aspect – beyond the funds involved in the Typhoon Update, which also covers the derisking of some technologies that will then go to Tempest, but it is unclear when they will begin, for 2 reasons,” says Batachi. . “First of a political nature, because a defense (i.e. government) programmatic document such as a dedicated program sheet in the DPP, even with minimal funding, must demonstrate to the partners, especially the British one, of Italy.” Commitment to storm. Second, of an operational and industrial nature, because the more time elapses, the more British move forward and the less likely they are to affect operational and industrial needs, especially the main stage, because, As we have seen, London already has a consolidated program in place with appropriations and a financial profile created,” concludes the director of Rid.
At what point is the FCAS rival?
Meanwhile, the Franco-German-Spanish rival project FCAS for a future air combat system continues. Phase 1A is currently underway for FCAS, but phases 1B and 2 should begin in the autumn.
But both plans for a future European combat system are still a long way from ready-to-fly demonstration aircraft. Meanwhile, the Chief of Staff of the German Air Force said in an interview defense news that they spoke with their Italian and British counterparts about the possibility of combining efforts.
Convergence in the future?
“Maybe we go on different tracks. We hope that eventually we will unite,” said German General Ingo Gerhartz of the two sixth-generation hunting projects.
There was no dearth of those ideas in our country too. The note issued by the Ministry of Defense on the occasion of the signing of the MoU on 21 December highlighted that “Italy considers it desirable to evaluate the possible convergence of the two programs over time”.
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