The UK is partnering with Japan and Italy to develop a next generation fighter aircraft under a new Global Combat Air Program.
The program will build on the progress made since 2018 by BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, MBDA UK, Rolls-Royce and the UK Ministry of Defence who have been working as Team Tempest to research, evaluate and develop next-generation future combat air systems capabilities.
Charles Woodburn, CEO of BAE Systems, said, “With our UK industry partners, we look forward to strengthening our ties with Japanese and Italian industries as we work together to deliver this program of huge importance to our global defense and security.
“The agreement with Japan and Italy is fundamental to meeting the goals set out in the UK Combat Air Strategy and is set to create and sustain thousands of high-value jobs and benefit hundreds of companies across the UK, contributing to long-term economic prosperity and safeguarding sovereign combat air capability for generations to come.”
“The emergence of a single international program, backed by three Governments, represents a major point of maturity for our shared combat air vision and a strong vote of confidence in the readiness of industry to deliver the program,” added Mark Hamilton, managing director electronics UK, Leonardo.
The UK industry partners have already generated working relationships with their counterparts in Italy and Japan, which will progress into the new joint development. These include IHI Corporation, Mitsubishi Electric and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Japan, and Avio Aero, Elettronica and Leonardo in Italy.
In the UK, around 2,500 people are working on the program as part of Team Tempest and wider industry, including 91 SMEs and 26 academic institutions. Tempest will replace the Typhoon when it enters service in the mid-2030s and forms part of a wider combat air system that will utilise new technologies as they evolve to respond to increasingly high-tech and complex threats.