The United Kingdom has unveiled a model of its future combat jet programme named the Tempest, a year after France and Germany announced plans to jointly develop a future European fighter aircraft.
On the opening day of FIA 2018, the UK’s Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, said the Tempest concept, a twin-engine, delta-winged, low-observable fighter could be used with either pilots or as a drone.
The craft will eventually replace the existing Typhoon fighter jet. It will be developed and built by BAE Systems, engine maker Rolls-Royce, Italy’s Leonardo and missiles expert MBDA.
UK will invest £2 billion (US$2.7 billion) to 2025 in the new project, aimed at ensuring the country’s continued leadership in fighter technology and control of air space in future combat. “We have been a world leader in the combat air sector for a century, with an enviable array of skills and technology, and this strategy makes clear that we are determined to make sure it stays that way,” Williamson said.
He added that the UK, currently excluded from the latest fighter programme underway between France and Germany, was not against forming a partnership with other nations, “It shows our allies that we are open to working together to protect the skies in an increasingly threatening future – and this concept model is just a glimpse into what the future could look like.”
The Tempest will be the first stories-Brexit weapons program for England.
The future fighter could be flying alongside F-35s and Typhoons by 2035, the minister suggested. The Typhoon is due to exit service in around 2040.
Airbus reacted to the news with a statement that read: “Airbus notes the U.K.’s announcement regarding its plans for the development of a new fighter aircraft and is encouraged to see the government’s financial commitment to the project which supports the goal of sovereign European defense capability.
“A Future Combat Air System is of utmost importance to Europe’s armed forces and therefore we look forward to continuing collaborative discussions in this area with all relevant European players.”
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