Is the UK’s Proposed New Fighter Jet A Pipe Dream?
(Source: Financial Times; published Sept 03, 2018)
By David Bond
LONDON --- Britain’s military chiefs are spending much of their time grappling with a £20bn shortfall in the UK’s defence equipment budget.

So, when defence secretary Gavin Williamson revealed plans in July for the UK to develop a multi billion pound, next generation fighter jet, some dismissed his proposals as a pipe dream.

However, almost two months on from the unveiling of the jet dubbed the Tempest, Ministry of Defence officials and executives from the four companies backing the project — BAE Systems, Leonardo, MBDA and Rolls-Royce — are busy developing a business case to underpin Mr Williamson’s ambitious vision.

“We are at the beginning of what’s going to be quite a long journey,” said Paul Everitt, chief executive of ADS, the UK aerospace and defence trade body.

The business case for Tempest is meant to be completed by the end of the year, but the government is not due to make a final investment decision on the project until 2025, with the aim of delivering the first jet by 2035.

While the government, industry executives and analysts insist Tempest is essential to sustaining the UK’s combat aerospace sector, which has an annual turnover of more than £6bn and supports 18,000 highly skilled jobs, critics complain about inadequate information and predict the project will not happen. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Financial Times website.


Combat Air Strategy
(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued Sept 03, 2018)
The Financial Times report on the UK’s Combat Air Strategy, in particular, the Tempest programme that was revealed by the Defence Secretary earlier in the summer. The Combat Air Strategy aims to leave no doubt over the UK’s ambitions to remain a world-leader in the next generation of air power.

The work has already been backed up by £2bn of funding and has been developed in parallel with the Modernising Defence Programme.

An MOD spokesperson said: “Our fleet of F-35 stealth fighter jets and Typhoons are central to our Combat Air Strategy and will be the cornerstone of our combat capability for decades to come. With rapid advancements in technology and an increasingly complex air environment, we need to remain a step ahead of our adversaries to counter future threats.

“The Combat Air Strategy, including concepts such as Tempest, will allow us to exploit emerging technologies and ensure we remain world-leaders in the air.”


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