LONDON — The BAE Systems-led team driving development of a next-generation combat jet has won a multimillion-dollar deal from the British Ministry of Defence to mature dozens of new technologies ahead of building a demonstrator aircraft.
The award for Team Tempest, as the industry partnership is named, comes in a £656 miĺlion ($822 million) and will fund “concepting and technology” associated with development of the fighter, BAE said.
The new investment will help industry and MoD assess the maturity of advanced technologies ahead of decisions over what to include on a demonstrator aircraft targeted to fly before 2027.
There are currently around 60 of the technologies being worked on via technology demonstrations and digital concepts by Team Tempest and its partners.
Besides BAE, Team Tempest industry partners include weapons maker MBDA UK, power plant developer Rolls-Royce and sensor and electronics company Leonardo UK.
The industry grouping was set up in 2018 when the British government rolled out its future combat air strategy during that year’s Farnborough air show.
Details are scarce of exactly what technologies are being looked at in the latest phase of the program, but in general they will likely include areas such as advanced supersonic propulsion, electrical power generation, integrated sensing, laser direct energy weapons, integrated communications systems and stealth materials.
The investment forms part of more than £2 billion worth of planned UK government spending on the project up to May 2025.
In a statement due to be released April 14, BAE said UK Tempest partners, working in collaboration with the MoD, will now progress technologies “critical to the UK’s sovereign defense capability and will help shape the final requirements – together with the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) partners in Japan and Italy – for the combat air platform, due to enter service with the Royal Air Force by 2035.”
Britain is in the throes of putting together a partnership with Italy and Japan to develop the GCAP effort.
The new investment commitment from the MoD relates to UK work, although the effort will also help shape the tri-national effort.
“The next tranche of funding for future combat air will help fuse the combined technologies and expertise we have with our international partners – both in Europe and the Pacific – to deliver this world-leading fighter jet by 2035,” British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said.
Andrew Chuter is the United Kingdom correspondent for Defense News.