Defence Minister Mark Lancaster has announced a new recruitment drive for Team Tempest, say the MoD.

The Minister claimed that the number of people working on the programme set to more than double over the next two years.

The programme, say the MoD, is set up to develop a sixth-generation fighter jet to join the RAF’s fleet from 2035. The project already employs over 1,000 people across UK industry and the MOD is planning to increase that number to over 2,500 by 2021.

For a guide on what Tempest could shape up to be, see here.

Defence Minister Mark Lancaster said:

“Team Tempest offers thousands of young recruits an exciting opportunity to work on a crucial programme securing our dynamic combat air power in the decades to come.

This recruitment drive demonstrates our enduring commitment to securing and advancing the careers of some of the brightest minds in the UK.”

This comes not long after it was revealed that Sweden is joining the programme.

The announcement of Sweden’s collaboration on the project is expected to be made later this month at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT).

“Britain’s Team Tempest programme to build a new fighter jet has moved a step closer to getting into the air with Sweden poised to announce it has signed up as the project’s first international partner,” according to The Telegraph.

Tempest’s purpose is to explore the technologies and systems that could form a future combat air system.

According to a Commons Library briefing paper which provides a brief overview, the process is still at very early stages and is focused more on exploring and developing potential technologies.

It states that:

“Tempest was a fighter aircraft in World War Two, although the Strategy only uses this term in the context of ‘Team Tempest’ – it does not confirm this will be the name of whatever aircraft or system emerges.”

The companies involved have given some indications of the technologies and techniques they are looking at. Rolls Royce has talked of developing a future power system that drives not just the aircraft but provides a “step-change levels of electrical power (for the future systems on board)”.

BAE say that a future combat air system must be able to survive the most challenging combat environments meaning that payload-range, speed and manoeuvrability will be key.

The aircraft, say the defence giant, is likely to operate with kinetic and non-kinetic weapons.

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Nigel Collins

Excellent news!

Geoffrey Roach

Absolutely right. I’m wondering whether, given the way that our defence commitment with the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries is shaping up if there is a ready made market there? Likewise Japan and South Korea are both looking towards a new 2035/2040 combat aircraft.

andy reeves

the replacement for tornado should have been announced by now, what’s it to be? how much will it cost? how long to get it?

Geoffrey Roach

The F 35 is the replacement for Tornado along with upgraded Typhoon’s. Tempest is sixth generation and designed to be the replacement for Typhoon.


In many ways, this programme will define Britain in the coming decade or so if it progresses with Swedish cooperation. France and Germany are developing their equivalent and it will be very interesting to see what eventually materialises.

Chris H

@ Maurice10 – Very much agree with your sentiment. The Uk has a huge future if we just have the self confidence. What was it FDR said to the American people?
“We have nothing to fear but fear itself!”

andy reeves

the swedish arms industry and the nations abilities quality in design and performance with the gripen fighter and the gotland class submarine.


Who is paying for these foreign companies to work? I have not seen/heard of neither Italy or Sweden contributing any money.
Hopefully we will get some clarification from Sweden at Riat in next few weeks


Indeed Sweden hasn’t anounced its involvement yet so the financials are an unknown if even determined as yet. Italy as yet is not involved though Leonado is so the form of their involvement will/could be a combination of self finance and paid for expertise depending on the company’s exact role and commitment on the project which is probably fluid and subject to change should Italy itself commit to offcially join.

Or the short answer is who knows and likely in a state of flux.


I just get weary because we hear a lot of noise and it smells more like PR than anything else. Seriously, how many partners are rumoured? Italy, Sweden, Turkey, Japan, Korea, Canada, Australia, UAE, even the US/Boeing. (Some of these don’t even pass the smell test) Careful what you wish for. too many cooks in the kitchen is a sure disaster. It’s not like the UK does not have the ability to go it alone like the french did with Rafale. I think it’s best the UK first work on defining what exactly it wants/needs to design before taking on… Read more »




Hmmm… Is this why Saab were so worked that 30% of the Gripen is made by UK? The Euro version is France Germany and Spain… So the idea that we must be “alone” is a misnomer.

andy reeves

why is it that the q.e and p.o.w will have an expected service of 50 years and every other ship doesn’t?


It’s Leonardo UK who are involved. They’re the ex Ferranti/Marconi business unit. But as to Swedish involvement they announced that they would be making a cash call on the market some time ago. Italy is as good as nailed on. For the simple reason that they have no choice. They have the same aircraft mix as the UK so have the same timelines to work towards, they also have a defence industrial base working to the same timelines. If they want their industry to survive they have to join. Plus they have already said that they are not interested in… Read more »

Peter Shaw

Great news I fully believe the UK should fund a new sixth generation fighter. If done correctly with Sweden, Italy maybe Canada and Australia as partners this could be doable as it would spread the costs.

Chris H

@ Peter Shaw – Totally with you on that. We have to make our mark as we leave the EU and show we are still a very capable country and what better showcase than an advanced aircraft? And you name some good partner nations although I am not sure Australia will ever buy a non US fighter aircraft


Plenty of non US kit in the Australian military aquisition history.

Tiger helos, NH90 helos, spannish surface ships LPH and surface combatants, french submarines, bushmaster armoured vehicles, hawk trainers, Even selection of Asraam for legacy hornets. Yes they have bought US jets in recent decades but limited viable alternatives for the need at those moments in time.. Lots of rumblings down under about F35…

Chris H

@ Pete – I wouldn’t disagree with you at all and would even highlight the Aussies primary role in the A330 MRTT development. But in fairness I was referring to front line fighter / fighter bomber aircraft not the Aussie’s very capable military as a whole.


Tiger is going to be replaced by Apache E in the next 6 years, an absolute disaster of a procurement….I suspect purchases from Eurocopter will be thin on the ground in the future. You have to wonder how the NH90’s will fare long term as well.


That’s great news, hopefully Tempest will be a huge success our aviation industry really needs it. I wonder how much will be learned or taken from RAF F35bs though, maybe nothing but probably something useful.


This is a step in the right direction just hope that Corbyn does not become PM otherwise all of our defence projects and build out plans will be scrapped.

Gavin Gordon

Think that would finally tear Labour in two.


What about his grand communist army just like his idol stalin??

Chris H

I hoped Sweden (SAAB) would come on board especially when the Airbus (Germany) / Dassault (France) effort was announced it was obvious they were not looking to work with other countries. Spain is basically Airbus so no big news with their involvement. I have said before that Italy was shafted as we were and why (IMHO) I believe Leonardo UK were the lead party for a later full Italian involvement. After all no one else in Europe has 5th Gen / Stealth manufacturing and operational experience other than Italy and UK. We are natural partners who already work together on… Read more »


I agree with you Chris H, this is a good opportunity to take the lead again. I know what you mean about wooing the Aussies back from their US habits, but as you say, there was a fair amount of unhappiness towards the Super Hornet purchase (and I think originally the F35A, if I remember correctly), so at least a potential export customer if nothing else. I personally wouldn’t have a problem with the Japanese on board – although they are another large US customer, they have been very proactive in developing indigenous high end defence equipment so they are… Read more »


That being said, keeping the number of partners down would also streamline production, and as you say, we have a good working relationship with the Italians on Tornado, Typhoon and to a lesser extent the F35 programme. Leonardo is half-British, also. Sweden and Saab have previously worked closely with BAE Systems on Gripen export sales, and the Gripen uses a lot of UK avionics, weaponry and other tech. So I would have no problem if the Swedes and Italians were our development partners, and we sold it to the Canadians and Aussies with an industrial offset in the manner Saab… Read more »


Leonardo half British !? There is absolutely nothing British about Leonardo.

FYI It is 30% owned by Italy, the next biggest shareholders are Norges bank 2% and Libyan Investment Authority 2%.

Until the Italian government puts money on the table, i think it is premature to include Leonardo in the project and subsidize Italian industry with British tax payer money

Chris H

@ gandalf – Leonardo UK are what I referred to as the ‘lead party’ and to which The-Marquis was responding. It is an entirely UK based company employing over 7,000 people over 8 sites here. The shareholdings to which you referred were for the Italian based company. From their website:
“The new single entity, Leonardo MW Ltd., brings together AgustaWestland Ltd, Selex ES Ltd, Finmeccanica UK Ltd, and DRS Technologies UK Ltd., operating under the Leonardo brand”
In particular Team Tempest will be using sensor, radar and advanced combat air systems from Leonardo which have worked so well on Typhoon.


As Gandalf and I mentioned before, Italy would be a good partner. Along with us they have been the only other Nation within Eurofighter to push Typhoon development. Both Germany and Spain have been dragging their feet and slowing development. At the Paris airshow last month, the French and German defence ministers basically ostracised Italy, not sure why? At the show, the Italian defence minister stated that she was in high level talks with the UK and joining Team Tempest. I’m not sure if this was just political come-back or spin on her part. The only issue with Italy at… Read more »


Tick.Thanks Chris H


I’m all for this (including Swedish / Saab involvement) with one minor exception…

Lose the vertical stabiliser 🙂


Would like to see a future version designed for use with a sabre engine. That would be transformational.

I wonder if it’d be possible to have removable tail fins that would be compensated for with magma, thrust vectoring. One for high speed, stealth deep penetration and the fin equipped model for nimble air defence?


I would live to see them really go for it and incorporate innovative tech like magma, but it depends how much risk they want to open the project up to


What on earth would be the point? The sabre engine is designed to get things into space, it would be pretty pointless putting that in a strike aircraft.


A Mach 5+ strike aircraft wouldn’t be useful?


No it would not. It would be extrodinarily expensive due to the rocket engines and exotic fuselage materials needed. It would also be next to useless in strike mode as it would be too fast for strike runs. It would also pretty much never hit anywhere near that speed as it would only be able to go very fast in straight lines. Remember the F15 was supposed to go Mach 3 but they had to scale that back as the cost would have been ridiculous. That would only have been useful for interception (which it was mainly designed for)


In some respects I see your point, except the hypersonic engine could be done in two parts and would give massive advantages to a platform. 1. Add the reaction engines pre-cooler to the front of an EJ200/EJX. This would add at least another 25% to overall thrust of the engine, besides making it more fuel efficient. The other benefit is is would allow the engine to still work at a much higher altitude. 2. Add a scaled down Sabre engine to an airframe. This would give the aircraft hypersonic potential. I agree it would not make for a highly manoeuvrable… Read more »


Think your right on the money!

“Hillier said using the pre-cooler technology on the EJ-200 gas turbine engine, which currently powers the Typhoon fighter jet, was one option being considered.”


I’m dreaming with Brazil working togheter…

Nigel Collins

A little off-topic but interesting none the less!

Who will pick up the workshare and make the additional 900 parts?
Will this slow the production rate further still?
Who will take their allotted 100 F-35’s, or will the unit cost increase?

“Turkey defies US as Russian S-400 missile defence arrives”

“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems to believe that, whatever the Pentagon may say, Donald Trump himself is less hostile to the purchase of the Russian missiles.”

Alan Garner

Meanwhile 70k bureaucrats across MOD and DE&S in charge of making tea.

R Cummings

I very much doubt that we have/are willing to invest anything like the funds needed to develop a new 6th generation fighter. It was a very big stretch to fund 40% of Typhoon and Tornado, even with 3 or 4 other major players contributing and a new-tech 6G model will be considerably more expensive. The fact that we had to partner with others underlines that no secondary power can any more afford to develop a top-of-range fighter aircraft on its own. A conventional lightweight like the Saab Gripen, fine, but not an advanced aircraft able to compete with the dominant… Read more »


You seem to be talking yourself round in circles.

The salient point is that our F35B is carrier based, and thus a necessity. Future 6th Gen is going to be advanced stealth with integrated avionics radars and advanced wrapons. It will control it’s own airspace and do what ever it then needs and wants to do. A simpler Gripen type might sit below it, but in controlling its airspace it ultimately replaces everything else… Raptor, Typhoon, F35A.


I think this would be the case if they were starting from scratch but isn’t the plan to use the Typhoon as their platform? That’s what I thought I read. Couple work on Taranis with our detailed experience with the F35 and evolve the Typhoon platform from this point and integrate existing development work on Dragonfire and you’ve got your 6th gen aircraft. Each individual tech is on the way to bring proved or already there, it then becomes a matter of integration. Sounds easy so there will surely be problems but I don’t think Tempest will be a blank… Read more »


We may not have the funds to develop a new fighter. We haven’t actually partnered with anybody yet & we shouldn’t let that stop us. The EAP was funded, designed & assembled in the uk 1986, (our last manned prototype) on a purely British shoestring budget. The prototype Pegasus used in the kestrel was little more than the front stage from from a Olympus stuck on a Odour. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, we have to build a prototype first. BAe & RR are really good at that. (Taranis 235millon vs Neuron 480 million).

Chris H

@R Cummings – I think you are forming your PoV from a false premise. Team Tempest is not starting from a clean sheet of paper and looking to find how to do things. We already have the airframe systems, avionics, combat systems, weapon systems, engines, Radars, cockpit and advanced helmet systems from the latest Tranche Typhoons and even a basic airframe shape that was designed and tested here for many months. RR has evolved an advanced version of the EJ200 which is almost priceless this early in a new project. So this is more a project to fit together what… Read more »


Chris, I think you make a very good point. We have been in the business of creating radar absorbent material since the end of WW2. These materials were used in the prototype BAE Replica and proved pivotal in enabling us be the primary partner in the F35 program. It also had a ridiculously small RCS and went in some way to help with the Taranis project. This country does have the tools necessary to build a 5/6 gen prototype aircraft. The F35 program has shown the way what is capable with network and sensor integration and this will only get… Read more »

Chris H

@ DaveyB – I think many people are looking at Tempest from the wrong angle as if it is ‘all new’. Just my opinion but I think this will be an evolving process where we fit what we have (suitably upgraded) from Typhoon into a new airframe (which has already been tested and evolved) and get a prototype up and flying. As you said the UK has a wealth of knowledge on materials and BAE have been there and done it and got a few 5th Gen T Shirts as have Leonardo. ‘Atomic’ made the good point that the UK… Read more »


Yes, In most respects EAP can be seen as a brilliant success. You can definitely see the origins of Typhoon in the design, even though it had a cranked delta wing planform. It’s a shame they didn’t go with the twin fins and cranked delta wing as per original the development model, but that’s a story for another day! The German Lampyridae (firefly), or Medium Range Fighter Aircraft (MRMF) was a top secret stealth aircraft research programme conducted during the 1980s and built by MBB. It was supposed to have a better RCS than the F117. It made use of… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

“We have been in the business of creating radar absorbent material since the end of WW2”

Handed earlier versions of RAM to the Americans in the 60’s I read.


A lot of the development of RAM materials were actually developed by the Navies of both Germany and the UK. Germany was using materials to coat periscopes and snorkels to prevent them being spotted by radar equipped aircraft. We coated some motor gunboats to enable them to approach the french coast without being seen for clandestine use. The Japanese and Russian radars was useless during the war. America’s radar was years ahead, due to the passing of information and technology they gained from us. After the war, Russia captured a great deal of German radars and made great use of… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Fascinating stuff.

Steve Martin

Good news indeed, finally something in writing rather than the rumours that have been flying around. Now we just need the Italian defence minister to put pen to paper as she was alluding to at the Paris airshow. Then the ball can finally get moving. I really hope they build a development aircraft like Typhoon’s EAP. It will be interesting to see if Sweden will go down the heavy fighter route or still require a relatively lightweight one? I really do see the Tempest being a step change to both the Typhoon and F35. There’s more momentum behind the Tempest… Read more »