Italy and UK Sign a Statement of Intent to Collaborate on the Tempest Program
(Source: Italian Ministry of Defence; issued Sept. 10, 2019)
(Unofficial translation by
Lt. Gen. Nicolò Falsaperna and Sir Simon Bollom, acting in their capacity as their countries’ National Armament Directors, sign a Declaration of Intent to collaborate on the Tempest program. (IT MoD photo)
LONDON --- Lt. General Nicolò Falsaperna, Secretary-General of Defense, and Sir Simon Bollom, CEO of Defense Equipment & Support, in their capacity as National Armaments Directors of Italy and the UK, signed a Statement of Intent at the Defense & Security Exhibition International to collaborate in the Tempest program.

The Statement of Intent commits both Governments to further develop their capabilities in the Combat Air sector. It is the result of a joint Government Feasibility Study, launched following the publication of the UK's Combat Air Strategy at the Farnborough Air Show in July 2018.

The study led to the conclusion that the UK and Italy are natural partners in the Combat Air sector, also thanks to the collaboration between the defense ministries of the two countries, and in particular between the Italian Air Force and Royal Air Force that both operate the same combat aircraft, Eurofighter and F-35.

In fact, thanks to the experience deriving from the use of these assets and from a common vision on doctrine, training and operational experience, a strong alignment of views on the characteristics necessary for a next-generation air system was recorded.

Additionally, the two Nations have matured fifty years of collaboration experience in the development and support of combat aircraft with the Panavia Tornado and Eurofighter programs.

Both Governments have confirmed their common will to establish a solid industrial base in order to develop the necessary technological capabilities and ensure the success of the program, expressing the will to rely on their national industries, including shared industrial realities such as Leonardo and MBDA, as well as that Avio Aero and Elettronica.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The above Statement of Intent is a low-level way for Italy to collaborate on the UK’s Tempest program, and the way it was handled indicates that it does not fully meet the expectations of the British government.
First of all, it is signed not by defense ministers but by their national armament directors, which clearly shows that it is of insufficient significance to warrant ministerial involvement.
When Spain joined the French-German SCAF project, and even when Sweden reluctantly agreed to cooperate on the UK’s Tempest project, both agreements were signed by their respective defense ministers, which gave them a ministerial imprimatur that the Italian agreement sorely lacks.
As BAE’s statement at bottom makes clear, it is Italian industry that is to join the Tempest program, while the government-to-government link to this program remains very generic.
Consequently, the significance of the agreement should not be over-estimated, nor mistaken for Italy’s full commitment to joining Tempest.
It is probable that Italy consented to sign the agreement as a means of providing some form of political cover to allow Italian industry (Leonardo Italy, Avio Aero, Elettronica, MBDA Italy etc.) to participate in Tempest, of which Leonardo’s UK subsidiaries are already full members.)


Italy Partners with the UK on Tempest
(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued Set. 11, 2019)
Sir Simon Bollom, CEO of Defence Equipment & Support, and Lieutenant General Nicolò Falsaperna, Italian Secretary General of Defence, have signed a Statement of Intent to partner on Tempest in their roles as National Armament Directors.

The Statement of Intent (SOI), signed at the DSEi conference yesterday, commits both governments to further develop their Combat Air capability relationship.

The agreement covers existing platforms such as Typhoon and F-35, as well as Tempest, the programme initiated by the UK to develop a next generation combat air system.

The Statement of Intent outlined a number of commitments from both countries:

-- Closer Government alignment on future Eurofighter Typhoon enhancements;
-- Deepening discussions on Tempest military requirements;
-- Developing a combat air roadmap, identifying opportunities to integrate advanced technologies from Eurofighter Typhoon into Tempest;
-- Developing an innovative, agile and co-operative industrial framework to deliver Tempest;
-- Launching pilot studies to demonstrate new, collaborative ways of working.

The agreement was the result of the joint Government feasibility study, which was launched following publication of the UK’s Combat Air Strategy at the Farnborough Airshow in July 2018.

The study concluded that the UK and Italy are natural Combat Air partners, with both Air Forces (the Royal Air Force and the Aeronautica Militare) operating the same, potent fleet of Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35.

Informed by these systems, both Air Forces have a strong overlap in views on the characteristics necessary for the next generation of combat aircraft. Both Air Forces also share a close alignment on doctrine, training, and operational experience.

The UK and Italy have a proven 50-year track record of working closely together on Combat Aircraft development and support through the Panavia Tornado and Eurofighter Typhoon programmes.

Both Governments confirmed a common desire for a strong industrial base to develop key capabilities and boost prosperity in both nations. The agreement also paves the way for closer industrial collaboration, including through shared industrial entities such as Leonardo and MBDA.

Last month, the UK and Swedish governments a comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding on future combat air, committing the parties to work on a joint combat air development and acquisition programme.


UK and Italian Industry to Partner on Tempest
(Source: Joint BAE Systems / Leonardo statement; issued Sept. 11, 2019)
LONDON ---Today at DSEI, leading UK defence companies (BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, Rolls Royce and MBDA UK), together with key Italian Industry players (Leonardo Italy, Elettronica, Avio Aero and MBDA Italy) announced their intent to partner on the Tempest programme by signing a Statement of Intent (“SOI”).

This will see the parties work together to define an innovative concept and partnership model which will include knowledge sharing, product definition and technology development for the joint development of future combat air systems.

The signing of the SOI follows a commitment by the UK and Italian governments to work closely together on Combat Air capabilities, including on systems such as Typhoon and F-35, as well as on Tempest, the UK-initiated next-generation combat air system.

Both governments confirmed a common desire to maintain strong industrial bases in order to access key capabilities and secure prosperity for both nations. Italy and the UK have a long and successful history working together on international programmes such as Tornado, Typhoon and F-35.

Leading up to the SOI signing, UK and Italian industry worked together on an initial study to assess the feasibility of a common approach to future Combat Air systems. Many areas of potential collaboration were identified, including where shared industrial enterprises such as Leonardo and MBDA already see close integration between the two nations.

In addition, a joint government feasibility study also concluded that the UK and Italy are natural Combat Air partners, with both Air Forces operating the same mixed fleet of Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35 aircraft. Italian and UK industry share an interest in potential joint activity to meet national and international requirements.

Charles Woodburn, Group Chief Executive Officer, BAE Systems said: "Our proven record of successful collaboration with Italian industry makes us certain that this partnership between our two nations is a strong fit for Tempest and demonstrates the growing momentum behind this important international endeavour. Today’s announcement will expand existing partnerships with MBDA and Leonardo, which are central to our work in unleashing the full potential of Typhoon, as together we develop future combat air technologies to the benefit of both nations."

Alessandro Profumo Chief Executive Officer, Leonardo, said: "Today’s agreement is an essential next step for this exciting and strategically important programme. As the CEO of Leonardo, I’m confident in this collaboration as each day I see how UK and Italian engineers, working together, achieve incredible things. Our two nations have a long and shared history of success on international programmes and we believe that working together on Tempest will further strengthen each nation's technological, industrial and skills base to ensure prosperity for decades to come."

The announcement was made at DSEI accompanied by speeches from Charles Woodburn, representing BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, Rolls Royce and MBDA UK and by Alessandro Profumo, representing Leonardo Italy, Elettronica, Avio Aero and MBDA Italy.

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