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Tempest - UK + IT + SE

Tempest In mid-July 2018, Britain announced it is developing its new stealth fighter plane, the Tempest, to replace the Eurofighter Typhoon. The UK's defense secretary, Gavin Williamson, unveiled a life-size model of the fighter jet dubbed Tempest on 16 July 2018 at the UK's prestigious Farnborough Air Show. Williamson said the "world-beating" jet can be used unmanned, as a drone, or with pilots. It was scheduled to be operational by 2035. The UK is to invest 2 billion pounds ($2.7 billion, 2.3 billion) to 2025 in the stealth warplane, which will involve British companies BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce as well as Anglo-Italian Leonardo and pan-European MBDA. British Prime Minister Theresa May, who held a speech at the opening day of the air show, said the government is funding "the next phase of the Future Combat Air System Technology Initiative through a ground-breaking partnership known as Team Tempest."

At the Farnborough International Air Show a next generation fighter concept model was revealed showcasing key technologies that will be important in the future. The concept gives an indication of the types of technologies that we and our partners are developing and investing in so that we can deliver world leading capabilities for the future.

Secretary of State for Defence, The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP at the Farnborough Air Show on 16 July 2018 "In the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review we promised to invest in new complex weapons. And weve done what we said wed do, working with our industry partners, investing 2 billion until 2025 to make our Future Combat Air System Technology actively take off. ... Early decisions around acquiring next generation capability will be made by the end of 2020 final investment decisions by 2025 and by 2035 I want to see Tempests flying alongside our world-beating Typhoons and F-35s.... Tempest is envisaged as an innovative partnership between the Ministry of Defence and the industry partners of BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Leonardo and MBDA. But we want new partners as well. Together we want to design and build ultra-advanced equipment, far faster and keeping ahead of the breath-taking pace of technological change."

Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, spoke to the Atlantic Council think-tank in Washington DC outlining the strength of the UK and US relationship on 08 August 2018. "This year our world-famous RAF celebrates its 100th birthday. Far from dwelling on the glory years of the Spitfire fighter and Lancaster bomber, weve unveiled a new Combat Air Strategy to build the next generation of Tempest fighters."

In August 2019, the UK and Swedish governments a comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding on future combat air, committing the parties to work on a joint combat air development and acquisition program.

Italy partnered with the UK on Tempest. Sir Simon Bollom, CEO of Defence Equipment & Support, and Lieutenant General Nicol Falsaperna, Italian Secretary General of Defence, signed a Statement of Intent to partner on Tempest in their roles as National Armament Directors. The Statement of Intent (SOI), signed at the DSEi conference 10 September 2019, commits both governments to further develop their Combat Air capability relationship. The agreement covered existing platforms such as Typhoon and F-35, as well as Tempest, the programme initiated by the UK to develop a next generation combat air system. The Statement of Intent outlined a number of commitments from both countries:

  • Closer Government alignment on future Eurofighter Typhoon enhancements;
  • Deepening discussions on Tempest military requirements;
  • Developing a combat air roadmap, identifying opportunities to integrate advanced technologies from Eurofighter Typhoon into Tempest;
  • Developing an innovative, agile and co-operative industrial framework to deliver Tempest;
  • Launching pilot studies to demonstrate new, collaborative ways of working;

The agreement was the result of the joint Government feasibility study, which was launched following publication of the UKs Combat Air Strategy at the Farnborough Airshow in July 2018. The study concluded that the UK and Italy are natural Combat Air partners, with both Air Forces (the Royal Air Force and the Aeronautica Militare) operating the same, potent fleet of Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35. Informed by these systems, both Air Forces have a strong overlap in views on the characteristics necessary for the next generation of combat aircraft. Both Air Forces also share a close alignment on doctrine, training, and operational experience. The UK and Italy have a proven 50-year track record of working closely together on Combat Aircraft development and support through the Panavia Tornado and Eurofighter Typhoon programmes. Both Governments confirmed a common desire for a strong industrial base to develop key capabilities and boost prosperity in both nations. The agreement also paves the way for closer industrial collaboration, including through shared industrial entities such as Leonardo and MBDA.

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