MOD awards £31 million contract for UK fighter jet program FCAS


An industrial consortium led by QinetiQ has won a £31 million contract to provide technical support to the UK’s Future Combat Air System program.

The Aurora Consortium, which includes consultants Atkins and BMT will provide engineering support to the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) and the Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) Catalyst teams for three years under the deal.

FCAS centers around the development of the Tempest generation 6 fighter jet that will replace the RAF’s main strike aircraft Tornado by 2035. The industrial consortium developing FCAS is made up of lead partners Rolls Royce, BAE Systems, Leonardo and MBDA.

FCAS will use artificial intelligence (AI) systems to use new capabilities such as flying manned or unmanned or to use swarming technology to control drones. The program is currently in the concept and assessment phase, which will see a range of digital concepts developed and new tools and techniques to design, evaluate and shape the final design and capabilities of Tempest used.

FCAS is one of the major capabilities which the Catalyst Delivery Team has contracted as part of a wider program that also includes support to unmanned systems and digital engineering capability development.

QinetiQ is to provide a range of support to Catalyst and will initially focus on the human performance, safety and systems engineering disciplines.

Nic Anderson, chief executive UK Defence at QinetiQ said, “The Aurora Engineering Partnership with the UK MOD and DE&S continues to go from strength to strength, providing technical support to the most complex acquisition programmes.

“Our work with Catalyst will help accelerate new ways of working using digital engineering methodologies in supporting the next generation of combat air platforms.”

Robert Galvin, Head of Business Development Air Engineering Services, QinetiQ said, “This contract will put QinetiQ and our partners in Aurora at the heart of key new combat air capabilities for the UK MOD in the years to come, and help DE&S bring the significant engineering capabilities of EDP and the wider provider network to support the FCAS programme.”

The contract win follows a successful initial FCAS contract delivered over the previous two years and support the creation of new jobs and new technologies and delivery approaches for the next generation of aircraft Test and Evaluation in QinetiQ, the company said.

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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