London, 11 September 2019 – Today at DSEI, leading UK defence companies (BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, Rolls Royce and MBDA UK), together with key Italian Industry players (Leonardo Italy, Elettronica, Avio Aero and MBDA Italy) announced their intent to partner on the Tempest programme by signing a Statement of Intent (“SOI”). This will see the parties work together to define an innovative concept and partnership model which will include knowledge sharing, product definition and technology development for the joint development of future combat air systems.
The signing of the SOI follows a commitment by the UK and Italian governments to work closely together on Combat Air capabilities, including on systems such as Typhoon and F-35, as well as on Tempest, the UK-initiated next-generation combat air system. Both governments confirmed a common desire to maintain strong industrial bases in order to access key capabilities and secure prosperity for both nations. Italy and the UK have a long and successful history working together on international programmes such as Tornado, Typhoon and F-35.
Leading up to the SOI signing, UK and Italian Industry worked together on an initial study to assess the feasibility of a common approach to future Combat Air systems. Many areas of potential collaboration were identified, including where shared industrial enterprises such as Leonardo and MBDA already see close integration between the two nations.
In addition, a joint government feasibility study also concluded that the UK and Italy are natural Combat Air partners, with both Air Forces operating the same mixed fleet of Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35 aircraft. Italian and UK industry share an interest in potential joint activity to meet national and international requirements.
Charles Woodburn, Group Chief Executive Officer, BAE Systems said: Our proven record of successful collaboration with Italian industry makes us certain that this partnership between our two nations is a strong fit for Tempest and demonstrates the growing momentum behind this important international endeavour. Today’s announcement will expand existing partnerships with MBDA and Leonardo, which are central to our work in unleashing the full potential of Typhoon, as together we develop future combat air technologies to the benefit of both nations.
Alessandro Profumo Chief Executive Officer, Leonardo, said: Today’s agreement is an essential next step for this exciting and strategically important programme. As the CEO of Leonardo, I’m confident in this collaboration as each day I see how UK and Italian engineers, working together, achieve incredible things. Our two nations have a long and shared history of success on international programmes and we believe that working together on Tempest will further strengthen each nation’s technological, industrial and skills base to ensure prosperity for decades to come.
The announcement was made at DSEI accompanied by speeches from Charles Woodburn, representing BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, Rolls Royce and MBDA UK and by Alessandro Profumo, representing Leonardo Italy, Elettronica, Avio Aero and MBDA Italy.