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Tempest Launch Date

Tempest project confirmed with PM targeting 2035 launch date

PRIME Minister Rishi Sunak has confirmed the UK will partner with Italy and Japan to develop the Tempest Fighter jet – the replacement for the Typhoon which is hoped will be in service by 2035.

The ambitious target will see BAE Systems aircraft designers working alongside Italian and Japanese colleagues, with a 12-year goal to have the new aircraft airborne and defending British airspace. 

 Prime Minister Rishi Sunak views aircraft models at number 11 (fighter) Squadron. During a visit to RAF Coningsby on 9/12/22

(Prime Minister Rishi Sunak views aircraft models at number 11 (fighter) Squadron. During a visit to RAF Coningsby on 9/12/22 © Crown copyright 2022)

The PM headed to RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire to officially make the announcement; the station one of two Quick Rection Alert, QRA, sites where Typhoons are on 24/7 standby to challenge any aircraft entering or approaching British airspace.  

The Tempest was first revealed in 2018, with upgrades planned in stealth and radar capabilities to take the sixth-generation fighter ahead of its rivals in AI technology and weaponry. The UK has already spent £2billion on the project, with research and development aiming to produce an aircraft that can be flown remotely and carry hypersonic missiles.

Previous co-operative projects have proved successful, with both the Jaguar and Tornado serving the RAF with distinction for decades. The Jaguar was created by a combination of British and French air design, it was 1965 that BAC and Breguet forming a joint company, the Société Européenne de Production de l’Avion d’École de Combat et d’Appui Tactique (SEPECAT), to design and build the aircraft that was in service with the RAF for more than 30 years. 

The Tonka had an even greater shelf-life, the jet developed jointly by the UK, West Germany and Italy, the first arriving with the RAF in July 1980, the last GR4 officially retiring in April 2019.

While the Typhoon – another joint European project – has ultimately become an integral part of Britain’s defence, it arrived well behind schedule at a cost billions higher than originally planned, each jet with a price tag 75 per cent more than predicted. 

Tempest Artist Impressions

(Tempest Artist Impressions © Crown copyright 2022)

The targets set for the Tempest are ambitious and it is hoped a demonstrator aircraft capable of supersonic flight will be operational within the next five years. The new aircraft will be integral to the UK meeting its security objectives both in the Pacific as well as in Europe, with the continued military support for Ukraine being combined with vocal backing for Taiwan – the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee recently visiting the island much to the annoyance of China, which sees it as a breakaway province.

“The security of the UK, both today and for future generations, will always be of paramount importance to this Government,” said the Prime Minister. “That’s why we need to stay at the cutting-edge of advancements in defence technology – outpacing and out-manoeuvring those who seek to do us harm.

 “The international partnership we have announced today with Italy and Japan aims to do just that, underlining that the security of the Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific regions are indivisible. The next-generation of combat aircraft we design will protect us and our allies around the world by harnessing the strength of our world-beating defence industry – creating jobs while saving lives.”

 

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