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UK announces additional funding for Tempest

The UK has released additional funding for the Tempest future fighter. (Team Tempest)

The United Kingdom has released a further tranche of funding for the Tempest, announcing an additional multimillion-pound investment in the future fighter aircraft it is developing under the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP).

Announced on 14 April, the GBP656 million (USD823 million) contract was awarded to BAE Systems as the UK prime contractor for the GCAP programme that was launched with Italy and Japan in December 2022. This contract extension forms part of more than GBP2 billion worth of UK government spending committed to the project up to May 2025, as announced in the 2021 Defence Command Paper.

“The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a contract extension […] to progress the concepting and technology of the next-generation combat aircraft, known as Tempest in the UK,” BAE Systems said. “The new funding will build on the ground-breaking science, research, and engineering already completed under the first phase of the contract delivered by UK Tempest partners BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, MBDA UK, and Rolls-Royce.”

As noted in the announcement, the UK Tempest partners and the MoD will progress the maturity of more than 60 technology demonstrations, digital concepts, and new technologies.

With BAE Systems leading the UK GCAP effort, Leonardo is doing so for Italy and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) for Japan. The three partner countries are working to establish the core platform concept in time to launch the development phase in 2024. The manned fighter for the UK will continue to be named Tempest. Italy has not ascribed a name to the aircraft, although has previously referred to Tempest/Tempesta. Japan has not said if its F-X will become the F-3 as originally intended.

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