UK unveils concept model of next-generation fighter jet Tempest

United Kingdom (UK) Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson unveiled a concept model of Tempest, a brand-new, next-generation fighter jet at the Farnborough International Airshow on July 16.

UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson photo

According to UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) the concept aircraft was put together by British firms BAE Systems, Leonardo, MBDA and Rolls-Royce in cooperation with Royal Air Force (RAF) Rapid Capabilities Office, collectively known as Team Tempest.

“Team Tempest brings together the UK’s world leading industry and sovereign capabilities across future combat air’s four key technology areas: advanced combat air systems and integration (BAE Systems); advanced power and propulsion systems (Rolls-Royce); advanced sensors, electronics and avionics (Leonardo) and advanced weapon systems (MBDA),” the UK Ministry of Defence said.

The development of Tempest is part of UK MOD’s new Combat Air Strategy, also unveiled by Secretary Williamson at Farnborough International Airshow.

“We have been a world leader in the combat air sector for a century, with an enviable array of skills and technology, and this Strategy makes clear that we are determined to make sure it stays that way. It shows our allies that we are open to working together to protect the skies in an increasingly threatening future – and this concept model is just a glimpse into what the future could look like,” Williamson said.

UK MOD aims to put the next generation fighter jet Tempest in operational capability by 2035, and replace Typhoon in 2040. “Early decisions around how to acquire the capability will be confirmed by the end of 2020, before final investment decisions are made by 2025,” UK MOD said.

However, as part of the new Combat Air Strategy, UK MOD will still continue to invest in Typhoon’s sensors and weapons systems to maintain combat effectiveness and competitiveness before its retirement from RAF.

“The MOD will continue to invest in the Typhoon for decades to come, with the best technologies being carried forward on to next-generation systems,” UK MOD said.

“The F-35 Lightning II and the Typhoon are two complementary multi-role combat aircraft that will make up the RAF’s combat air fleet, placing the UK at the forefront of combat air technology – with the Typhoon expected to remain in UK service until at least 2040,” it added.