UK to work with Japan on supersonic Tempest fighter jet

First demonstrator aircraft will fly ‘within next five years’ to test features such as stealth capability

The UK government has announced that it will work with Japan on plans for its next-generation Tempest fighter jet as executives from across the aviation industry gathered in the sweltering heat for the start of the Farnborough airshow.

The first demonstrator Tempest aircraft – capable of supersonic flight – will fly “within the next five years” to test features such as stealth capability.

Tempest, designed to be the long-term replacement for the Typhoon fighter, is being developed by the FTSE 100 manufacturer BAE Systems at a facility near Preston, along with Italy’s Leonardo. Rolls-Royce, another FTSE 100 manufacturer, is building engines for the plane.

Japan is working on its own F-X fighter programme but the announcement on Monday stopped short of a full merger of the projects. Instead, Japan will join the UK and Italy for “joint concept analysis” that will seek to “understand areas of shared interest and to explore potential future combat air partnership options”.

Although the UK government has increased defence spending since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, gaining a new full partner in the Tempest programme could help with the new fighter jet by splitting the huge costs of developing the plane. Some analysts estimate it could cost up to £25bn.

Ben Wallace, the UK’s defence secretary, said: “Our work with Japan and Italy on cutting-edge technology like this shows the benefit of our alliances across the world.”

Sign up to the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk

The prime minister, Boris Johnson, speaking at the show, said: “The future combat aircraft system is not just a plane. It is a whole platform for technological change, and industrial spin-offs of all kinds.”

It came on the first day of the show at the Hampshire airport, which returned amid a UK heatwave two years after the last one was cancelled as a result of coronavirus pandemic restrictions. Analysts are expecting hundreds of orders for new planes from the manufacturers Airbus and Boeing during the show.

The first major order on Monday came from the US airline Delta, which said it would buy 100 Boeing 737 Max passenger aircraft worth a combined $13.5bn (£11.3bn), providing a major boost to the US manufacturer. The 737 Max was previously grounded around the world after two fatal crashes.


Jasper Jolly

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Farnborough airshow to focus on cleaner flying and potential fighter jet deal
Manufacturers to emphasise their efforts to reduce environmental impact of planes

Jasper Jolly

18, Jul, 2022 @5:01 AM

Article image
Boeing's suspension of 737 Max production rattles airline industry
Ripple effects dent stocks in airlines and aircraft suppliers around the world

Jasper Jolly and Gwyn Topham

17, Dec, 2019 @9:40 AM

Article image
Aircraft orders dry up as industry records worst ever January
Sector recorded no new orders for passenger aircraft at all, with only four cargo planes booked

Graeme Wearden

22, Feb, 2021 @6:00 AM

Article image
Rolls-Royce makes £2.9bn loss as engine fault costs £790m
Earnings of £616m wiped out by exceptional costs, including faults with Trent 1000 engine

Rob Davies

28, Feb, 2019 @6:13 PM

Article image
Rolls-Royce to cut thousands of jobs, sources say
Jet engine manufacturer said to be considering making 8,000 workers redundant

Jasper Jolly

07, May, 2020 @12:35 PM

Article image
Boeing Dreamliner: US joins Japan in grounding 787s

Influential US regulator the FAA joins Japan in taking troubled planes out of service, followed by India and Chile

Gwyn Topham, transport correspondent

17, Jan, 2013 @8:30 AM

Article image
Airbus reports loss of €1bn after Covid, and could shed 15,000 jobs
Aircraft maker says ‘pandemic continues to impact lives, economies and societies’

Jillian Ambrose

18, Feb, 2021 @2:31 PM

Article image
Gulf carriers place £100bn aircraft order
Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways together order over 200 of new Boeing 777X, a more fuel-efficient version of the 777 jumbo

Gwyn Topham

17, Nov, 2013 @7:39 PM

Article image
Rolls-Royce confirms locations of first 3,000 UK job losses
Initial cuts to be carried out via voluntary redundancy, with Derby site among hardest hit

Jasper Jolly

03, Jun, 2020 @6:50 PM

Article image
Airbus to pay record £3bn in fines for 'endemic' corruption
UK court sanctions fines after firm admits using agents across world to bribe officials to land high-value contracts

David Pegg and Rob Evans

31, Jan, 2020 @5:33 PM