Companies from across the UK defence industry have come together in the first opportunity for suppliers to engage with the Government and Team Tempest partners over the future of Combat Air System development in the UK. 

The event in Farnborough was launched by Minister for Defence Procurement, Stuart Andrew MP, and saw 300 delegates including SMEs and technology-led organisations attending to build connections and take part in a series of briefings outlining the capabilities and skills needed to shape the future of Combat Air System delivery in the UK.
An official computer generated image of Tempest from the Combat Air Strategy.

According to a release, the Tempest programme aims to harness and develop UK capabilities that are critical for Next Generation (NextGen) Combat Air capability and to retain the UK’s position as a globally competitive leader through understanding of future concepts, technologies and capabilities.

Team Tempest Future Combat Air System concept.
Stuart Andrew MP, Minister for Defence and Procurement said:
“The Tempest programme guarantees the UK’s position as a world-leader in air power into the future and is a huge boost for the UK defence sector. Delivering this ambitious vision will see the MOD drawing on the innovation and creativity of the UK defence sector, which already supports over 18,000 highly skilled jobs across the country.”
Team Tempest Future Combat Air System concept.
Air Marshal Mike Wigston, Deputy Commander Capability said:
“Continuing to develop Typhoon and growing our F-35 fleet provides the route to the near-term, but we must prepare for the future now. The Combat Air Strategy with its clear commitment to an enduring UK Combat Air industrial sector is important to the RAF, as it is that sector that provides daily support to our war fighters.
The stand-up of the Combat Air Acquisition Programme, to replace what is currently delivered by Typhoon is recognition that we must start now if we are to deliver a coherent and continuous capability in the future. 
The Future Combat Air System Technology Initiative is the practical embodiment of the enterprise today, and the £2Bn investment demonstrates how seriously we take the challenge.”
Copyright BAE Systems.
ADS Chief Executive Paul Everitt said:
“The UK’s future Combat Air capability is essential for our national security and the long-term health of the UK defence industry. It is great to see Team Tempest reaching out to the wider UK industry and ensuring this important project is a genuine national endeavour. The UK has world leading capability and a diverse range of businesses with the experience and expertise to support this important work.
ADS is delighted to host today’s event and look forward to contributing to this fantastic project in the months and years ahead.”
Concept imagery of Tempest dropping drones.

Hosted by Team Tempest (a co-funded technology initiative bringing together the Royal Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, Dstl, DE&S, BAE Systems, Rolls Royce, Leonardo and MBDA) and facilitated by ADS, the event offered a briefing for UK industry to better understand the Tempest programme and its role in supporting the UK MoD’s Combat Air Strategy and was followed by a separate, classified briefing.

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captain P Wash.




Alex T

What what?

Watch out! Mr Reeves is about!

Tim realist


“The Future Combat Air System Technology Initiative is the practical embodiment of the enterprise today, and the £2Bn investment demonstrates how seriously we take the challenge.”

2 Billion? Of Mod or BAES money?


Given that the quote is from an air marshal, I’d say it’s MOD funding. Which is logical, given that this is an RAF aircraft in development


I’m more than happy for my Tax-Pound to go into this venture.
After Brexit, and when others can see a viable package put together, who knows? maybe we could see Australia, Canada, New Zealand and maybe even the fiercely enterprising U.S.A. entering a Pan-British Joint Fighter Program!

Ian and Callum. I agree, I’m for Tempest too. My thinking was how much 2 Billion would buy NOW in the MoD. These programmes swallow vast sums, and what are the chances this aircraft ever materialises? The military industrial complex will still pocket the wad of cash for its fat cat shareholders. 2 billion. And how many billions after before an example even physically exists? People here often complain why, with a huge defence budget, we get so little hardware in return. Because it goes into things like this, with the military industrial complex pocketing the profits. I feel the… Read more »

Agree with your sentiment Daniele. I suppose it’s the capitalist way, where if you throw enough money at something you get results, which does work. But I believe a lot of people now challenge the ‘waste’ which I think is a jolly good thing. Where is the 2billion going, how many staff, what are their salaries? etc. I feel if this was challenged more strongly and was more transparent we would get much better value for money. And the money saved could be used for spending on military assets now. Its the same principle as when the local council is… Read more »


I think you are being too negative, if there is US support it is much more likely to be on a investment/profit sharing basis by a private company most likely Boeing on a similar basis to their new venture in OZ specifically aimed at loosening restrictions imposed upon it by the US Government and increasing its military efforts. It makes a lot of sense for them in particular, but probably on a lesser scale others too, as they have long been stymied by the US in their attempts to get more fighter work. No wonder when this was anounced they… Read more »


Even if it doesn’t come to anything like a program of record, I hope it will be an investment that will pay off in subsequent joint projects.


Or as the BBC would put it…

“Despite Brexit….”


Well unless the EU reject the extension Id say Brexit, and democracy in this country is dead.

captain P Wash

Looks that way.


If we hard Brexit on the 29th the Economy and the Union will be very soon dead.

captain P Wash.

No. It Won’t.

Oh yes it will….cmon….Oh no it won’t!!!


He’s behind you!!!!


They said that if we just vote to leave pal. I dont doubt there would be some economic downturn but Britain is the fifth most powerful economic country in the world, the UK will survive.
I think the best option now is to enact article 24 of WTO which gives us at least 2-10 years of free trade with the EU, in which time we can negotiate ither trade agreements while still working on a european one.

Agree Keith. It’s twaddle.

A nations wealth and prosperity linked to political union?

Last time I looked the UK was the EUs second biggest market and one of the world’s biggest economies.

He does have a point about the union tbough. The SNP will seize on it as an excuse. But then again they will use anything to break up the nation.

And this worries me greatly.

I wish Chris H was still here.

He was better with exact details in debunking the debunkers and doom mongers.


No disrespect, but you sound like Chamberlain or Halifax!
We have a hard slog ahead, we need strength and support, not pessimism and defeatism!!



I won’t vote for any major political party again.

There’s no point.

captain P Wash.

I never Voted for any of those, I only voted for Brexit.
The Question was Asked, We Answered.

RIP Democracy.

Democracy isnt dead, stop over-reacting like most leavers, unless General elections and other elections are cancelled then it isnt dead, just becuase you dont like whats going on doesnt mean its dead. I used to like this site but now the comment sections are just full of leavers and their utter nonsense.


Your name is Donald trump junior and I claim my five pounds!

If only the UK could get back to what it used to do best. Remember the Hawker Hunter to name just one, that found success with other air forces. There will be tough competition as many countries are developing similar generation machines, but the UK can do it with a possible partnership with other European and Commonwealth partners. I wish this project good luck, whilst it lasts??

Cam Hunter

Yeah, over 2000 Hunters built…. was still flying upto 2014 in one country…. I would love the uk to think big again… I hope Tempest is that “ think big” idea but this government just well sucks on defence, but atleast we have Gav in our corner for once.


I think it wouldnt be the worst idea if the Tempest program split into two programs, one budget fighter, developed with SAAB, single engine etc and is a replacement for Gripen and then an advanced Typhoon replacement. Like a Type 26 and Type 31 of the skies!

This is suerly wrong. How do you fit engines into a 1 engine airframe or why reconstruct a slimmer frame? Or indeed why should Tempest actually have 2 engines. A cheaper plane would be cheaper because of less technology inside the plane wouldn’t it? Outside of the USA I do not see us building large numbers like the Hunter… But this plane surely will be built over a very long time. It will be adapted and refurbished and updated. Typhoon started as an air superiority anti air agile “fighter”. Any differences would be surely different concepts being designed. Fighter. Multi… Read more »

captain P Wash.

The Tornado was originally called MRCA, Multi Roll Combat Aircraft, It did just that but the F3’s were considered a bit of a miss when it came to “Dog Fighting” (Or so I’ve been Told) But was much better defending the UK’s airspace from Long range Bombers and their likely Escorts.

Typhoon Seems to be a pretty Comprehensive MRCA all of It’s Own and Damned Impressive It Is Too. The Addition of Lightnings and Tempests would make one hell of a Deterrent IMHO.

Evan P

We don’t have the budget for an expensive fighter platform and a cheaper platform to be developed simultaneously.


Very true, very true,
It was more of a fantasy statement, although it would provide us with the capacity to expand the fast jet fleet!
But let’s not forget that up to a couple of years ago it was unthinkable to have more than one class of frigate for economical reasons.

captain P Wash.

Evan P. Type 26 and Type 31 Spring to mind.


I’m no expert but I suspect t the diference in designing two aircraft types bears little similarity to two frigate types. I was totally flabbergasted last week simply reading about the aerodynamics schemes of the Mercedes and Ferrari F1 cars so the considerations inherent in the variations of a cheap single engined and complex twin engined fighter must be a galaxy apart and hoendously expensive. Sure even the engines would have to be different too. The last time RR tried to concurrently develop 2 fighter engines in the war Perigrine/Merlin it was nearly a disaster even if they are admittedly… Read more »

Steve R

Hopefully we can get a decent number of them too. 180 planes providing 8-9 frontline squadrons would be ideal.

Perhaps wishful thinking?

Nigel Collins

Would I be correct in assuming that this is the final design of the airframe? and if so, why could we not build it sooner using the current technology with improved engines from RR that can be found on the Typhoon?

This could be achieved using some of the budget assigned for the purchase of F35A’s as well as some additional investment from interested partners.

At least a few demonstrators would be possible in the very near future surely???

No Nigel, this is only a graphic representation of what it could look like. The final design may will look very different, especially if other countries come on board and demand certain features and capabilities that define the design characteristics.

Nigel Collins


Internals might be different but would the aerodynamic stealthy shape have to be common? Certainly within credible bounds.


To be honest I suspect it was hastily put together at MOD instigation once they knew about the Franco/German venture and using their previous F35 alternative efforts from the 90s as a base guide. The present investigations into the tech to be used will no doubt modify the look until the flying demonstrators are finalised.

Might be the same with Perseus too methinks.

Nigel Collins

Equally, Typhoon could be used to test future systems for Tempest and be upgraded themselves.

Good point


I think this is what will happen, Nigel. Modified Typhoons flying 6th gen kit. I hope it leads to more Typhoon buys.

Wouldn’t we want to keep the shape of the airframe secret… Although may be the design shape of stealth craft are well understood now? I suppose the long lead times will also mean that as technology moves on then the shape will alter so.e what. The wing shape does to me have a look of the B1(? )(The US flying wing?) The diagram implies that it will adapt and change over time so it may well have an extremely long service and production life. It suggests to me that it is hoped it will not be a design “dead end”,… Read more »

Hmmm … I cannot edit.

so my “so.e what” should read, “somewhat”. !!


Obviously exact details and such would never just be handed out (even if they actually existed at such an early stage), but given how far 3d modelling technology has come, with a few measurements and photos from several angles anyone could feasibly copy the airframe. If you have a search for the BAE Replica, you’ll see Tempest is incredibly similar, especially in the wing shape. Before we joined the F-35 programme, BAE did a lot of research into stealth aircraft, some of which was worked into the F-35 programme (hence why we’re the only other Tier 1 partner: we actually… Read more »

captain P Wash.

It was upside down last time I Saw It. Australian Version ?

Cam Hunter

Is this Tempest from 5byrars ago at BAE Warton?

Cam Hunter

Dam it! “Years”

captain P Wash.

Cam, Yup, That’s It.


We need something written into this program to prevent any more TSR-2, AEW3…dabacles.
But more than anything, we really need this type of forward-looking investment, as we exit the European Dictatorship!

Apologies for my day off and Anti-European rants!


I’m not persuaded that we need another manned fighter by the time this is ready for operations. Drones have limitations today, but the pace of change is so high that many of those may no longer apply by the time that they are operational. Equally, the environment they will need to operate in may be very different to today. Are we not now very close to the day when these should all be unmanned, even if still being ‘flown’ by a pilot in a bunker somewhere a long way away? Perhaps that £2bn would be better directed towards unmanned tech… Read more »

I’m not persuaded that we need another manned fighter……
You might be right…but that was what was said about the Lightning …over half a century ago!

captain P Wash.

And, I seem to remember that the Press release mentioned It would be A Manned or Unmanned Design.

Personally I’m doubting our Technical Brilliance when It comes to replacing the good old Human Brain. Boeing 737 MAX for Example.


I suspect this project as it is in the early calculation stage is keeping all options open. The fact that they have said it could be both manned and autonomous suggests to me it could in fact end up being any of the three options that description actually implies. It will be at least 5 years before any real conclusion on what’s the best design concept will be made I suspect, even as the enabling technologies are developed or explored in parallel. With its work on Taranis I would expect by then Bae would know if any such prospect for… Read more »

This has crossed my mind too. Whilst I hugely support the UK undertaking these high tech projects and want to see more, the rapid rise of wing man style drones will only lead to fully armed stealth drones in the near future. Once they are armed and fully swarmed, no manned platform will be able to compete due to less manoeuvrability and g force, and slower reaction and processing speeds compared to a computer. I believe we are only going down the ‘wingman’ route to get people used to and comfortable with the whole armed drone concept:

Cam Hunter
Cam Hunter

I meant from 5 years ago!, Dam Why can’t we correct mistakes!.


No mate, that was the aircraft developed by BAE to replace Tornado. The prototype materials and overall design helped us secure the Tier 1 partnership for the F35 over other Nations.
A lot of the design and experience of the Replica will go into the future Tempest aircraft, except this aircraft was designed primarily for strike not air defence.

John Hampson

The French German project is in deep trouble. Defence News ran an article in Nov ” Europe’s next-gen fighter jet is stuck in the bickering phase.” It reported there was almost a “veritable “guerre” — war” between Airbus and France Thales and Dassault. Despite promising there would be no repeat of the Eurofighter, where French demands for over 60% of the work and all the design led to the French basically being kicked off the project, the French are again demanding the bulk of the work. Get ready for Eurofighter 2, despite Brexit.

captain P Wash.

This Time, We’ll call it SPITFIRE !

We won’t be able to do this on our own so it’s a case of who will join us. But I seriously think we’ve got a chance. The French have got to be regretting hooking up with Germany after the Saudi arms embargo by them. Sweden, Italy plus Japan ! Then we’d be in business.

All reads amazing until they only find funding to build 12… a bit like having full size carriers but without catapults and then buying planes massively compromised by an extra engine just for take off and landing.


Probably a good market in the west for a competitively priced 5th generation air superiority fighter/interceptor.

F35 is fundamentally offensive in nature, there would seem to be a big market for a more defensively focused fighter aircraft replacing all those f16,15 and Eurofighter fleets as they get decommissioned.


There may be a problem with only designing one airframe to fill each Nations requirements. For instance we need an aircraft that can replace Typhoon but do its role better. Sweden require an aircraft that can be used in its dispersed sites operating from the local road network. So their aircraft requires high specific thrust and short take-off and landing performance. If Canada is involved then they require an aircraft that has persistence and can operate for hours over their vast country, which means the aircraft needs to be large and have good fuel economy and carry a large weapons… Read more »


Team Tempest looks like a very important future program for the RAF and Britain’s Aerospace future. Britain will need partners on this program to spread out the costs. Partners will also make it more difficult for any future British Government to cancel the program. Some British MP’s like Jeremy Corbyn, would likely look on this program as a total waste of money.


Do you think these could be exported, or at last the designs? Much like the T26 and T31, with country specific kit.