The U.K.’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) has awarded a £250 million (US$350 million) for the Tempest program which will deliver the military, industrial and economic requirements of Britain’s Future Air Combat System (FCAS), marking the official start of the program’s concept and assessment phase.
The concept and assessment phase contract will see the partners develop a range of digital concepts, embedding new tools and techniques to design, evaluate and shape the final design and capability requirements of Tempest. The program is being delivered by Team Tempest – combining the expertise of the U.K. MOD, BAE Systems, Leonardo U.K., MBDA U.K. and Rolls-Royce. Working with international partners, the team is leading progress towards a U.K.-led internationally collaborative FCAS which will ensure the Royal Air Force and its allies retain world-leading, independent military capability.
Commenting on the award, Ben Wallace, U.K. Secretary of State for Defence, said: “Today’s news is a momentous step towards designing and building a new combat air system which will boost our already world-leading industry and ultimately keep us safe for the rest of the century. The contract I’ve announced today spearheads a £2bn (US$2.8bn) investment over four years and will see thousands of jobs sustained right across the U.K. We will now be getting to work with our partners to get the concept right and get this incredibly exciting and ambitious project off the ground. Make no mistake: we are remaining at the top table when it comes to combat air.”
Tempest will pioneer cutting-edge technologies, including those assisted by Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and autonomous systems to meet the capability requirements of future conflicts and be operational in the mid-2030s.