The UK Secretary of State for Defence and Preston North and Wyre MP, Ben Wallace, has confirmed plans for Britain to lead on the development of a new flying demonstrator, which will test the technology and design principles needed for the 6th generation Future Combat Air System.
BAE Systems is working with the Ministry of Defence and suppliers Leonardo UK, Rolls-Royce and MBDA UK on the project which will deliver the first UK designed flying demonstrator in a generation.
The aircraft is scheduled to fly within the next five years.
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The flagship project is part of a suite of new technologies being developed by Team Tempest designed to demonstrate and test the next generation combat air skills, tools, processes and techniques.
Tempest, the UK’s Future Combat Air System, is set to get into service in 2035 to replace the Typhoon.
The company said that Tempest will play a crucial role in providing long-term defence and security for the UK, while delivering significant economic benefits to the nation, securing high-value skills and careers and contributing to prosperity in many UK regions.
Engineers at BAE Systems across the North of England are leading the design, test, evaluation and build process, using novel digital engineering technologies such as synthetic modelling and model-based systems engineering, to help speed up design and keep costs down.
Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, said: “I am delighted that the UK, alongside Italy and Japan are working on similar combat air journeys together.
"Our work with Japan and Italy on cutting-edge technology like this shows the benefit of our alliances across the world.
"The design and development of the demonstrator aircraft represents an important milestone, showcasing the success and talent of our engineers, programmers and software developers. This programme will go on to attract opportunities for many more great minds and talent from across the UK."
Charles Woodburn, BAE Systems Chief Executive, said: “The demonstrator is an exciting once-in-a-generation opportunity providing experienced and young engineers alike a chance to contribute to an endeavour which really matters to our national defence and security.
"We’re partnering with the UK’s highly motivated and skilled supply chain to accelerate the innovation of the nation’s future air power; integrating new technologies so the Royal Air Force and its allies can stay ahead of our adversaries."
The flying prototype will provide evidence for the critical technologies, methods and tools, which will be used on the core platform. At the same time it will help retain, further develop and stimulate the next generation of skilled workers in the county.
Research done by PwC said that the Tempest project will make an estimated £26.2bn contribution to the UK economy, create high productivity employment and will support around 21,000 jobs a year.