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UK, Sweden and Italy Move Ahead on Future Combat Air System

UK, Sweden and Italy have begun trilateral industry discussions to strengthen their collaboration as they develop world-leading future combat air capability.

The new trilateral framework will see industry from all three nations bringing together their skills and expertise in the combat air sector to collaborate on the research and development of cutting-edge technologies.

The three national industries comprise leading defence companies from the UK (BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, Rolls Royce and MBDA UK), Italy (Leonardo Italy, Elettronica, Avio Aero and MBDA Italia) and Sweden (Saab and GKN Aerospace Sweden).

“International partnering provides the best opportunity to deliver a capable, flexible and upgradeable combat air system. We’ve made good progress with Saab and Leonardo in identifying shared goals and expertise and through this new framework, we can build on this collaboration to unlock the huge potential across our three nations,” said Charles Woodburn, Chief Executive Officer, BAE Systems.

Alessandro Profumo, Chief Executive Officer, Leonardo, said: “All three national industries fully grasp the historic nature of this moment. Tempest will be the cornerstone of a cross-border system of common defence which will extend far beyond combat air. It will secure enormous economic benefits and vast industrial and technological progress for Italy and our partners. Together, we share an understanding that if we get this right now, our respective aerospace and defence industries will thrive for a generation.”

Following the announcement, the three companies will assess common routes to future combat air capability using their know-how, expertise and technology development activities across current and future combat air systems.

“Combat Air is a key component of Sweden’s defence policy and it is defined as a national security interest. Saab is therefore taking these important steps to remain at the forefront of System of Systems development and the advanced technologies within Combat Air. We welcome the leadership by the Swedish and UK government, as shown with their July 2019 MoU, and are pleased to deepen our relationship with Italian industry. Our announcement of an initial £50m Future Combat Air investment and a new FCAS centre in the UK, will contribute to closer working relationships with the other FCAS industrial partners and the UK Ministry of Defence,” said Micael Johansson, Chief Executive Officer, Saab.

This framework is another step on the path towards a full agreement between these national industries to formalise areas of joint collaboration on future combat air systems development.

All three nations industries and militaries are partners in the joint development and operation of the Meteor beyond visual air-to-air missile that is arming Gripen, Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35. Swedish-made chaff and flare dispensers are used on UK Typhoons and Saab’s Giraffe radar is a key part of the UK’s Sky Sabre ground defence system. Swedish Gripen E aircraft are equipped with radars designed and built by Leonardo in Edinburgh.

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