Following the news that the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced a flying demonstrator for the next-generation Future Combat Air System (FCAS) within the next five years;
Harry Boneham, Aerospace Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:
“The move is an encouraging sign for the UK’s domestic aerospace industry, with the demonstrator being the first in a generation designed and developed in the UK. It will be a vital steppingstone on the path to an eventual platform, providing data and insights that will shape the final FCAS aircraft and signals an ambition to push UK firms to the forefront of the global industry.
“Investment in the program, which GlobalData forecasts to stand at $11.3 billion from the UK between 2022-2032, is allowing partners to develop cutting edge technologies. For instance, Rolls-Royce has developed a novel gas turbine demonstrator engine, Orpheus, while Leonardo UK and Japan’s Mitsubishi Electric have agreed the concept for a radar technology demonstrator called JAGUAR.
“In terms of UK jobs, the program promises to not only provide highly skilled jobs for experienced professionals in the industry, but also for early career individuals. Around 2,500 skilled professionals are employed on the FCAS program across the UK and this figure will only grow as development progresses. The program is also being used as a catalyst to stimulate the next generation. Partners within Team Tempest, including BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Leonardo UK, and MDBA UK, will collaborate on early careers recruitment for the program, with a goal of 1,300 new starters by the end of 2023.
“Additionally, Defence Secretary Benjamin Wallace highlighted the involvement of Japan in the joint development of sixth-generation technologies. This lends credence to reporting last week that Japan’s domestic sixth-generation fighter development program, F-X, may be merged with Tempest.”