Industry and government are expected to sign off the defence programme to enter its design phase in the next few weeks, according to a BAE Systems spokesman speaking to Defense News (DN).
“We are making good progress on the route to the concept and assessment phase, with the shared aim of launching the next phase of an international program to jointly develop and deliver world-leading future combat air capability. We expect to agree the concept and assessment phase contract in the summer,” the spokesman told DN.
In March it was announced that the UK government will invest £2 billion over four years to propel the next phase of the programme
This week, a PwC report highlighted that Tempest will make an estimated £26.2 billion contribution to the UK economy between 2021 and 2050. It will also support on average 21,000 jobs per year, from development to operational service (2026-2050).
The report also said the programme will create high productivity employment with an average GVA per worker of £101,000, 78% higher than the UK national average and 42% higher than the country’s manufacturing average.
Diane Shaw, EMEA aerospace, defence and security consulting leader, PwC, added: “As our research outlines, the scale of the Tempest programme is significant and expected to deliver wide-ranging benefits to the UK, stimulating investment in new technologies and promoting critical skills and capabilities that ensure the UK can continue to operate at the forefront of world-leading technology. The programme will stimulate R&D in regions most in need and generate wider economic benefits for these areas, supporting the UK Government’s levelling up priorities and contributing to the UK’s economic recovery and prosperity in the decades ahead.”
The fighter jet will include new technologies including direct energy weapons, hypersonic weapons, optional manning and swarming drones.