The United Kingdom today revealed a model of its proposed new fighter jet, the Tempest at the Farnborough Air Show.
Once manufactured, the aircraft will be able to fly either as a piloted aircraft or as an unmanned drone, UK Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, said adding that the UK would be investing £2bn in the new project.
The aircraft will be developed and built by BAE Systems, engine maker Rolls-Royce and Italy's Leonardo and is hoped to be flying by 2035.
"Today it’s my pleasure to announce Britain’s next generation and world beating fighter jet Tempest at Farnborough as we launch our Combat Air Strategy - a £2bn investment in an industry that supports 18,000 direct jobs, 100,000 in supply chain & worth over £6bn to UK," Williamson tweeted.
The Tempest is expected to compete with the European Future Combat Air System, also envisaged as system combining manned and unmanned aircraft. The European jet is being built with France and Germany as partners and many rope in other member countries of the European Union.
Williamson said that UK, currently excluded from the latest fighter programme underway between France and Germany, was not against forming a partnership with other nations.
In a surprise comment Airbus said: "Airbus welcomes the UK's commitment of funding for the future fighter project. We look forward to continuing collaborative discussions with all relevant European players."
Currently, the UK relies on the Eurofighter Typhoon and has invested into the US-made F-35. UK’s BAE System is the lead integrator of the Typhoon and will certainly be tasked with taking the lead on the Tempest.