Major UK engineering firms join Tempest consortium

2 min read

Seven of the UK’s leading aerospace and defence firms have joined Team Tempest, the cross-industry effort to develop a high tech, next generation combat aircraft for the RAF.  

Concept image of Tempest. Credit: BAE Systems

The companies involved include Bombardier Belfast, Collins Aerospace, GE Aviation UK, GKN Aerospace, Martin Baker, QinetiQ, and Thales UK. According to a statement from the project team, this is the first phase of organisations to sign such agreements, with more to be announced.

The organisations will now work alongside Team Tempest’s core partners - BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, MBDA UK, Rolls-Royce and the Ministry of Defence, to accelerate the development of new combat air technologies.

Commenting on the announcement, Dave Holmes, Manufacturing Director for BAE Systems’ Air sector, said: “We are delighted to have signed the first phase of these new agreements, which are transforming our traditional relationships with partners. We are seeking opportunities to widen the Team Tempest project and bring in the very best of UK capability and expertise, from both inside and outside of defence. They will work alongside us as we seek to develop the generation-defining combat air capability which will help safeguard the security of our nation and our allies to the end of this century.

Alex Cresswell, Chief Executive and Chairman of Thales in the UK, added:  “As we move from the industrial to information age Thales are delighted to be bringing our global expertise in cutting edge digital technologies and our world leading avionics business to support Team Tempest. Bringing the best of breed digital technologies from both the military and civil arenas to Team Tempest will enable the UK to dominate the digital battlespace of the future.”

Collectively the companies will look to support more than 60 technology demonstration activities which are currently underway, which will demonstrate and de-risk world-leading processes and technology in half the time and at significantly lower cost than previous complex combat air programmes.

As previously reported by The Engineer, Tempest - which was announced at the 2018 Farnborough Airshow - is expected to make use of a host of emerging technologies including a cutomisable virtual cockpit, directed energy weapons and even potentially a payload of air launched swarming UAVs.

Jeremy Quin, the UK Minister for Defence Procurement, said: “Today’s announcement demonstrates further progress in delivering the UK’s combat air strategy, with more companies collaborating on the future of the UK’s Air Defence. This is a highly innovative project based around cutting-edge technology and drawing on a skills base where the UK excels. I am delighted that the success and strengths of Team Tempest are being enhanced through drawing on UK expertise; working with industrial partners and highly capable international team we are configured for future success.”