A full-size mockup of Tempest, a conceptual next-generation fighter that will fly alongside the Lockheed Martin F-35 and the Eurofighter Typhoon in the Royal Air Force in the mid 2030s has been unveiled by the UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson.
This new fighter will be developed as a joint venture between British aerospace contractors BAE Systems, Rolls Royce and MBDA UK Ltd, in cooperation with Italy’s Leonardo, which has a sizeable UK business in the fields of helicopters, radars and defence electronics.
“Today, it’s my pleasure to announce Britain’s next generation and world-beating fighter jet Tempest at Farnborough International Airshow, as we launch our Combat Air Strategy – a £2 billion investment in an industry that supports 18,000 direct jobs, 100,000 in supply chain and worth over £6bn to UK,” Williamson said at the unveiling of the mockup.
According to a report by the National Audit Office, there is uncertainty in where the funds will come from, as the Ministry of Defence’s equipment plan is already underfunded by as much as £21 billion.
“Britain post-Brexit is a world-leader in defense airspace and industry,” Williamson said at the unveiling. “Britain has been a leader in combat air for a century with skills and technology that are the envy of the world. Today we show that we are determined to make sure it stays that way.”
Prime Minister Theresa May also voiced her opinion when she opened the airshow: “Finally, today I want to announce the publication of the UK’s Combat Air Strategy – which confirms our commitment to maintaining our world-class air power capabilities, and will boost an industry which generates billions in revenue for our economy and supports thousands of jobs in every part of the UK.”
“We will invest in new technologies, support cutting edge innovation, collaborate internationally and initiate the programme which will deliver the next generation capability. And crucially, we will work in partnership with industry to achieve this. So today I can announce that the government will join with BAE Systems, Leonardo, MBDA and Rolls Royce to fund the next phase of the Future Combat Air System Technology Initiative through a ground-breaking partnership known as ‘Team Tempest’.”
“This will deliver over £2 billion pounds of investment up to 2025, and help secure the long-term future of our Combat Air industry as we lay the groundwork for the Typhoon successor programme. Taken together, these measures amount to a significant boost for industry, promoting jobs, innovation and skills,” said the Prime Minister.