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Britain's 'world-leading' next-generation Tempest fighter jets programme gets £650m boost

NewsBritain's 'world-leading' next-generation Tempest fighter jets programme gets £650m boost

Britain’s programme to develop next-generation fighter jets with Japan and Italy has received a £656million funding boost. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) today announced the latest tranche of funding to propel the Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP) into its next phase, focused on technology.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the international defence partnership last December.

The planes – called Tempest in the UK – are due to take to the skies by 2035 and serve as a successor to the RAF Typhoon.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “The next tranche of funding for future combat air will help fuse the combined technologies and expertise we have with our international partners – both in Europe and the Pacific – to deliver this world-leading fighter jet by 2035, protecting our skies for decades to come.”

The MoD awarded the contract to BAE Systems, in collaboration with Leonardo UK, missile maker MBDA UK and Rolls-Royce, as well as industry partners from Japan and Italy.

The investment forms part of the £2 billion the Government has committed to the project up to 2025, announced in 2021 before the partnership with the other two nations on GCAP.

The aircraft is designed to be an innovative stealth fighter with supersonic capability and equipped with cutting-edge technologies, including state-of-the-art sensing and protection capabilities.

They are being developed in response to military bosses’ fears that air dominance is being threatened.

Richard Berthon, the Ministry of Defence’s director for future combat air, said: “This shows that the UK is committed to working with international partners to deliver a next-generation fighter jet for 2035.

“We are facing a growing threat from our adversaries, who are investing in combat air and air defences of their own.”

Herman Claesen, BAE Systems managing director of future combat air systems, said the contract reflected “the continued commitment by the UK Government”.

Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine has put pressure on the Government to boost defence spending.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced £11billion more for defence in his spring Budget.

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