UK defence boost as BAE system announces new deal for ‘future combat air system’

Tempest: New aircraft is ’smarter and much cheaper’ says chief

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The deal will see the two countries build on military collaboration giving both a boost to their defences. Aviation giants are meeting this week at Farnborough which has seen multiple British companies exhibit the latest technology on a global scale to audiences far and wide.

In a press release following the deal between BAE and Leonardo, the pair announced plans to work on shared interests.

According to the statement: “This approach allows the companies of the two countries to identify shared areas of collaboration and begin joint analysis on possible activities of shared interest after the two companies reached a collaboration agreement within the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) programme.”

It continued: “In the same context, lies an agreement between Leonardo’s Italian and UK electronics businesses and Elettronica SpA related to demonstration activities on advanced sensors and systems.”

The project will also look into future air combat sectors.

It read: “The FCAS program pursues the development of a technologically advanced multi-domain system of systems, underpinned by highly innovative and disruptive technologies, with a 6th generation core platform, and intended for the renewal of Eurofighter fleet.

“This ambitious project will allow participating countries to maintain national sovereignty in the Combat Air sector, while redesigning future operational and industrial capabilities in the aerospace sector.

“The collaboration between Leonardo and BAE Systems focuses on the application of Model Based System Engineering (MBSE) design methodologies and the joint development of enabling technologies for the national sovereignty of the future system.

“These activities are the natural evolution of the innovation processes already initiated by the partner companies, and assume strategic importance as they explore a technological frontier not yet reached by European industry.”

Aside from aviation projects, the pair will also work at a closer level on electronics.

The statement ended: “Furthermore, in line with this strategy, Leonardo’s Italian and UK electronics businesses and Elettronica SpA have agreed to collaborate in the domain of sensors and communications, aiming to support the technological development of the FCAS project, including demonstration activities related to future onboard electronics.

“This initiative will deepen the established collaboration of these companies at the international level, jointly defining the potential architecture for an integrated set of sensors and communications equipment with innovative capabilities and highly integrated features.”

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Defence Secretary Ben Wallace was present at the Farnborough Air Show on Tuesday and spoke of the importance of international partnerships and collaborations.

Speaking at the show, Mr Wallace spoke of the importance of partnerships in light of the upcoming Tempest fighter jet, in which Italy and potentially Japan are looking to become involved.

He said: “We’re serious countries with serious defence budgets and a serious appetite to make sure that we have skin in the game and we are leaders in the next generation of fighters.”

Sweden has also been involved in Tempest and signed a memorandum of understanding with Britain and Italy in 2020.

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The Swedish Air Force is in the midst of its own study of future fighter capabilities, and it’s unclear what their role will be on the program.

Mr Wallace told reporters after his speech that while Sweden has participated in discussions about FCAS requirements, it hasn’t invested in the program.
He said: “Money is important.

“We’ve got to get development up.”

Britain has committed to invest £2 billion in Tempest through 2025 with additional funding to come.

The Italian parliament in December approved a €6 billion investment over the next 10 years.

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