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Breaking: BAE Wins £656 Million Contract to Shape the Future of Aviation with the Tempest Program

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has granted a contract extension valued at £656 million to BAE Systems for advancing the conceptualization and technology of the upcoming generation of combat aircraft, referred to as Tempest in the UK. This new funding will build upon the groundbreaking science, research, and engineering already accomplished during the initial phase of the contract carried out by UK Tempest partners BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, MBDA UK, and Rolls-Royce. The UK Tempest partners, working closely with the MoD, will now advance the maturity of over 60 state-of-the-art technology demonstrations, digital concepts, and new technologies. These are essential for the UK’s sovereign defense capability and will aid in shaping the final requirements – along with the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) partners in Japan and Italy – for the combat air platform, set to enter service with the Royal Air Force by 2035. The aircraft is envisioned to be an innovative stealth fighter with supersonic capacity and furnished with cutting-edge technologies, including advanced sensing and protection capabilities.

“This contract signifies the ongoing commitment by the UK Government and ensures we continue to advance this substantial program and the crucial technology pipeline that will propel innovation into – and beyond – the combat air sector for decades to come. This vital work is at the heart of the newly established Global Combat Air Programme; a major international partnership and ambitious venture between the UK, Japan, and Italy with the collective goal to deliver the next generation of combat air fighter jets,” Herman Claesen, Managing Director, Future Combat Air Systems – BAE Systems Air Sector stated.

“The subsequent tranche of funding for future combat air will help merge the combined technologies and expertise we possess with our international partners – both in Europe and the Pacific – to deliver this world-class fighter jet by 2035, safeguarding our skies for decades to come,” Ben Wallace, UK Secretary of State for Defence, said.

“Today, as planned, the UK MOD is releasing the following tranche of funding for future combat air. This demonstrates that the UK is dedicated to collaborating with international partners to provide a next-generation fighter jet for 2035. We are confronted with an increasing threat from our opponents, who are investing in combat air and their own air defenses,” Richard Berthon, MOD Director Future Combat Air, mentioned.

GCAP builds on the significant progress already achieved in the UK by BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, MBDA UK, Rolls-Royce, and the UK MoD, who have partnered since 2018 to research, assess, and develop a range of next-generation future combat air systems capabilities. The program will extend over numerous decades, generating thousands of jobs and economic value for the UK, Italy, and Japan while maintaining critical sovereign skills for the three nations. The program is motivating current and future generations to contribute to this essential international endeavor. Over 2,800 people are already employed at the UK partners and broader industry, with nearly 600 organizations on contract, including SMEs and academic institutions. Throughout UK industry, work on this program is spurring investment in new digital technologies, tools, and techniques, including model-based systems engineering with open architectures, digital twins, and virtual environments. This will guarantee that the next-generation combat aircraft will be delivered more swiftly and more cost-effectively than previous combat air programs.

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