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Revolutionizing Aviation: BAE Scores a £656 Million Contract for the Tempest Future Aircraft

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has granted a contract extension worth £656 million to BAE Systems to advance the conceptualization and technology of the future generation combat aircraft, referred to as Tempest in the UK. This additional funding will augment the revolutionary science, research, and engineering already accomplished under the first phase of the contract executed by UK Tempest associates BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, MBDA UK, and Rolls-Royce. The UK Tempest collaborators, working closely with the MoD, will now push the maturation of over 60 pioneering technology demonstrations, digital designs, and novel technologies. These are vital for the UK’s independent defence capability and will assist in defining the final prerequisites – in conjunction with the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) associates in Japan and Italy – for the combat air platform, anticipated to enter service with the Royal Air Force by 2035. The aircraft is conceived to be a groundbreaking stealth fighter with supersonic prowess and fitted with advanced technologies, including top-tier sensing and protection capabilities.

“This contract symbolizes the enduring dedication by the UK Government and certifies we continue to evolve this significant programme and the essential technology pipeline that will propel innovation into – and beyond – the combat air sector for decades to follow. This imperative work is at the heart of the newly established Global Combat Air Programme; a significant international partnership and bold venture between the UK, Japan and Italy with the mutual aim to deliver the next generation of combat air fighter jets,” stated Herman Claesen, Managing Director, Future Combat Air Systems – BAE Systems Air Sector.

“The subsequent allotment of funds for future combat air will aid in merging the combined technologies and expertise we possess with our international allies – both in Europe and the Pacific – to deliver this world-class fighter jet by 2035, safeguarding our skies for decades ahead,” voiced Ben Wallace, UK Secretary of State for Defence.

“Today, as intended, the UK MOD is disbursing the next installment of funding for future combat air. This indicates that the UK is dedicated to collaborating with international partners to deliver a next-generation fighter jet for 2035. We are confronting an escalating threat from our opponents, who are investing in combat air and air defences of their own,” said Richard Berthon, MOD Director Future Combat Air.

GCAP capitalizes on the considerable progress already achieved in the UK by BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, MBDA UK, Rolls-Royce, and the UK MoD who have been cooperating since 2018 to investigate, appraise and develop a multitude of next-generation future combat air systems capabilities. The programme will extend over many decades, generating thousands of jobs and economic benefit to the UK, Italy, and Japan while maintaining essential sovereign skills for the three nations. The programme is motivating current and future generations to contribute their part in this crucial international endeavour. 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. Across UK industry, work on this programme is stimulating investment in new digital technologies, tools, and methodologies, including model-based systems engineering with open architectures, digital twins, and virtual environments. This will guarantee the next generation combat aircraft will be delivered more swiftly and more economically than previous combat air programmes.

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