Tempest, the program for the new sixth generation fighter of the Italian Air Force is underway


(by Mario Galati) ANSA has announced that the Minister of Defense Lorenzo Guerini, the United Kingdom Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace and Sweden Peter Hultkvist, signed on 21 December last, a trilateral agreement for the development of the new one Tempest weapon system, crucial for the balance of military and industrial capabilities at European and global level.

The agreement, called Future Combat Air System Cooperation MoU (Memorandum of Understanding), governs the general principles for an equal collaboration between the three countries and concerns all activities including research, development and joint concepting necessary for governments to make the choice ofacquisition of an advanced aircraft system to replace the Eurofighter. The agreement will be followed by the Project Arrangements and the Full Development phase, currently scheduled to start in 2025.

The Tempest program is among the defense priority programs. In Multiannual Planning Document - DPP - recently presented to the Parliament, a first important line of financing for the Italian participation in Tempest has been clearly identified within the program Euro Fighter, to allow the concrete start of activities, through the so-called transition "Typhoon to Tempest".

The F-2000 Program (Eurofighter) foresees 742 million euros, to which will be added quotas for a further 760 million euros to be sought in the context of consolidated synergies at the intergovernmental level and in close collaboration with the industry - guaranteeing full satisfaction of the requirement of national competence for the R&D phase, carried out jointly with UK and Sweden.

DPP 2020-22

The FCASC MoU, signed among the only European nations that know, produce and already use 5 generation aeronautical technologies, a necessary basis for the construction of future aircraft, will allow to enhance the national industry, guaranteeing the growth of know-how in a valuable sector such as that of technologies enabling sixth generation aircraft. In this context, a further factor of economic growth for the country will be represented by the involvement of small and medium-sized national enterprises and the Tempest program will be able to pour out its beneficial effects also on the employment aspect in the defense industry sector, in the of Research and Universities.

Still in the context of the construction of sixth generation aircraft, Italy considers it desirable, as well as other countries participating in both Tempest and the trilateral FCAS project (France, Germany and Spain), the opportunity to evaluate over time a possible convergence of the two programs. , to make the European product further competitive on a global scale, also in order not to risk the start of competition between European groups, which is not easily sustainable and which would probably risk benefiting other regional actors with global capabilities, which are developing similar technologies.

Industrial collaboration Italy-United Kingdom-Sweden

Last September at DSEI, the leading companies in the defense sector in the United Kingdom (BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, Rolls Royce and MBDA UK), together with the main players of the Italian industry (Leonardo Italy, Electronics, Avio Aero and MBDA Italy) they had already announced their intention to collaborate in the activities related to the Combat Air System Tempest by signing a Declaration of Intent.

The signing of the Declaration of Intent followed the commitment of the United Kingdom and the Italian government to close collaboration in the field of air defense, both on products such as the Typhoon and the F-35, and on the new Tempest fighter.

German Franc FACS program

FACS - Future Air Combat System is France and Germany's program for a new fighter which Spain also joined later.

In 2018 France and Germany signed a contract to develop a joint weapon system, winning a first contract for a study project worth € 65 million (US $ 73 million) for Airbus and Dassault, while Safran Aircraft Engines and MTU Aero Engines have announced a partnership to provide propulsion.

The FCAS program covers both manned and unmanned aircraft, and will enter into service from the 2040 to replace the French Rafale fighters and the Eurofighter currently supplied to the German Air Force.

Tempest, the program for the new sixth generation fighter of the Italian Air Force is underway