The UK is one step closer to having a sixth-generation fighter thanks to a financial boost from the Global Combat Air Program (GCAP).
Tempest: funding for the future of combat aviation
GCAP has secured an investment of more than $810 million to develop the Tempest project, the UK’s sixth-generation fighter. The funding will allow continued research and development of advanced technologies in this field.
The British Ministry of Defense has awarded BAE Systems the contract to develop the Global Combat Air Program technology further. Companies such as Leonardo UK, MBDA UK and Rolls-Royce also participate in the project.
According to the British Ministry of Defense, this investment will allow the development of more than 60 demonstrations of cutting-edge technology, digital concepts and new technologies.
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International cooperation in the Tempest project
The UK is not the only country involved in the project; Italy and Japan are also part of the initiative. The three countries aim to have an operational sixth-generation aircraft by 2035.
UK Defense Minister Ben Wallace stressed the importance of this international collaboration and the goal of delivering this world-leading fighter aircraft by 2035.
Herman Claesen, Managing Director of Future Combat Air Systems at BAE Systems Air, emphasized the UK Government’s continued commitment to developing this program and the technology vital to driving innovation in the combat air sector.
The global race for the sixth generation fighter
Competition for the development of sixth-generation fighters is already underway globally, with countries like the United States, China, and France working on their own projects.
The country that manages to be the first to have an operational aircraft and produce it in large numbers will gain a significant advantage both in terms of deterrence and potential conflict.
Importance of sixth-generation fighters
Sixth-generation fighters represent an important evolution in combat aviation. Current fifth-generation fighters, such as the F-35 Lighting II and F-22 Raptor, possess stealth capabilities that can take on China’s Anti-Access/Air Denial (A2/AD) umbrella in the Indo-Pacific.
A sixth-generation fighter would be even more efficient in this type of situation, increasing the deterrence capacity and prevailing in eventual conflicts.
The race goes on
The race for the development of the sixth-generation fighter is still on, with several countries vying to lead in air combat technology. In collaboration with Italy and Japan, the UK’s Tempest project is an example of how international cooperation can drive significant progress in this area.