The British Armed Forces has signed a 250 million pound ($349 million) contract with BAE Systems to develop the next generation of air combat, the Defence Secretary announced on Thursday.
Also known as Tempest, the Future Combat Air System will be a next-generation air combat system featuring new capabilities and technologies, including unmanned aircraft.
The contract will include digital and physical infrastructure investment, putting the project on a “digital-first” footing, with virtual testing and simulations significantly reducing production costs.
Boost in British Air Power
The contract is part of a more than £2 billion ($2.8 billion) total investment in air power by the UK government over the last four years made possible through a recent £24 billion ($33.5 billion) increase in defense spending.
Officially announced last year by the prime minister, the Future Combat Air System project is expected to bring the next-generation of air combat technology to the British air force around 2030.
“Today marks a momentous step in the next phase of our Future Combat Air System, with a multi-million pound investment that draws on the knowledge and skills of our UK industry experts,” British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said at the contract signing.
“Boosting our already world-leading air industry, the contract will sustain thousands of jobs across the UK and will ensure that the UK remains at the top table when it comes to combat air.”
BAE Systems is one of four founding members of the “Tema Tempest” consortium, including Leonardo UK, Rolls Royce, and MBDA UK.