The Tempest program is more British than ever, but is it a weakness?

On July 20, the date which was initially supposed to mark the opening of the Farnborough Airshow, 7 companies from the British aeronautical and defense industrial and technological base announced that they were joining the program launched two years ago by the British government and BAe companies, Rolls-Royce, Leonardo and MBDA. Thus, Bombardier, Collins Aerospace, GE aviation, GKN, Martin Baker, Qinetiq and Thales have joined the new generation fighter program led by Great Britain. But what is presented as a new step aiming to mark the expansion of the Tempest program in Europe, above all demonstrates an increasingly isolated program, which turns out, in the end, to be more British than ever. Indeed, with the exception of the Italian Leonardo at the launch of the program, no non-British company has announced to join the British initiative, and only Italy has signed a letter of intent to join the Tempest program.

Meanwhile, hopes of Sweden joining the program appear to be fading. Because if Saab announced, at the same event, the creation of a research center, the latter will be dedicated to the FCAS program, and not to the Tempest program, a subtle difference which indicates that Stokholm intends to participate in the design of the technological bricks, but by no means to that of the Tempest hunter himself. All in all, a relatively expected position, the Fligvapnet having always favored the use of relatively light single-engine fighters in a purely defensive posture, rather than heavy fighters with a long range of action without much interest for the Swedes. Despite this, the Tempest program is far from stuck. The British authorities have in fact released a £ 2,5 billion line of credit to begin preparatory work for the design of a prototype, and 1800 people are already working on the subject, a number which should reach 2.500 people by the end. of the year 2020. As for the Franco-German SCAF, the prototype is expected between 2024 and 2025, with industrial production planned after 2030, and entry into service planned between 2035 and 2040.

The Tempest will be based, like the SCAF, on a modular and scalable system of systems, offering great versatility and excellent scalability to the device.

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