Seven companies representing the breadth of innovation across the UK have signed agreements to progress opportunities to work on future combat air concepts and underpinning technologies across Team Tempest. The companies involved include Thales in the UK, Bombardier Belfast, Collins Aerospace, GE Aviation UK, GKN Aerospace, Martin Baker, and QinetiQ. This is the first phase of organisations to sign such agreements, with more to be announced.
The announcement represents a significant step forward by bringing additional expertise into the Team Tempest project. Team Tempest is a collaboration between BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, MBDA UK, Rolls-Royce and the UK Ministry of Defence, working together to develop game-changing technologies at pace and in an affordable manner.
At the opening of Farnborough on July 20, British Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace spoke of the changing face of airpower for the, where the armed forces and industry must embrace new and emerging technologies to counter disruptive capabilities and adversaries. He said UK armed forces can no longer rely on one type of aircraft that can only do one thing. The focus must be on future combat air systems with a virtual brain which can embrace AI, deep learning, sensors and communications technology.
The Minister also spoke of flexible platforms and closer integration of the services, embracing technologies in cyber and space and systems built with an open architecture for constant upgrades.
Thales is a global technology leader shaping the world of tomorrow today. The company is investing heavily across the world and the UK in digital innovation such as connectivity, Big Data, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.
Building on its extensive expertise in systems of systems architecture and design and international expertise in securing complex digital ecosystems, Thales is pleased to be entering into this new agreement with Team Tempest to explore how we will play a leading role in designing and securing the digital ecosystem which will be fundamental to operating the platforms of the future.
Alex Cresswell, Chief Executive and Chairman of Thales in the UK, said: “As we move from the industrial to the information age, Thales is delighted to be bringing its global expertise in cutting edge digital technologies and our world-leading avionics business to support Team Tempest. Bringing the best of breed digital technologies from both the military and civil arenas to Team Tempest will enable the UK to dominate the digital battlespace of the future.
The companies will now seek opportunities to join forces on established projects and developments with the core Team Tempest partners, bringing the best of British expertise and ingenuity to optimally designing, manufacturing and operating combat air systems through life.
Jeremy Quin, the UK Minister for Defence Procurement, said: “Today’s announcement demonstrates further progress in delivering the UK’s combat air strategy, with more companies collaborating on the future of the UK’s Air Defence. This is a highly innovative project-based around cutting-edge technology and drawing on a skills base where the UK excels. I am delighted that the success and strengths of Team Tempest are being enhanced through drawing on UK expertise; working with industrial partners and a highly capable international team we are configured for future success.”
Collectively the companies will look to support more than 60 technology demonstration activities which are currently underway, which will demonstrate and de-risk world-leading processes and technology in half the time and at a significantly lower cost than previous complex combat air programmes.