The United Kingdom, Sweden and Italy have begun trilateral industry discussions to strengthen collaboration between the three nations, as they develop future combat air capability.
The new trilateral framework sees industry from the three nations bringing together their skills and expertise in the combat air sector to collaborate on the research and development of cutting-edge technologies.
The three national industries comprise leading defence companies from the UK (BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, Rolls Royce and MBDA UK), Italy (Leonardo Italy, Elettronica, Avio Aero and MBDA Italia) and Sweden (Saab and GKN Aerospace Sweden).
Today’s announcement builds on bilateral discussions which have taken place between the UK and Swedish and Italian industries and establishes a trilateral industry group. Together, the companies will assess common routes to future combat air capability using their know-how, expertise and technology development activities across current and future combat air systems.
This framework is another step on the path towards a full agreement between these national industries to formalise areas of joint collaboration on future combat air systems development.
In addition, there is possibility of other nations joining the Tempest program. “Time remains for other partners to join Tempest. You have seen other nations express an interest and we are extremely positive for the future,” Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo said during Virtual Farnborough show on Wednesday.
Micael Johansson, Chief Executive Officer, Saab, said: “Combat Air is a key component of Sweden’s defence policy and it is defined as a national security interest. We welcome the leadership by the Swedish and UK government, as shown with their July 2019 MoU, and are pleased to deepen our relationship with Italian industry. Our announcement of an initial £50m Future Combat Air investment and a new FCAS centre in the UK, will contribute to closer working relationships with the other FCAS industrial partners and the UK Ministry of Defence.”
The UK has existing co-operation with Sweden and Italy. All three nations industries and militaries are partners in the joint development and operation of the Meteor beyond visual air-to-air missile that is arming Gripen, Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35.
Swedish-made chaff and flare dispensers are used on UK Typhoons and Saab’s Giraffe radar is a key part of the UK’s Sky Sabre ground defence system.
Swedish Gripen E aircraft are equipped with radars designed and built by Leonardo in Edinburgh.
Meanwhile, both the Royal Air Force and the Aeronautica Militare operate the same, fleet of Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35 aircraft, part of more than 50 years of close collaboration in combat air.