UK and Japan to work together on future fighter jet engine demonstrator Team Tempest CREDIT MOD 22122021.jpg
The demonstrator aircraft is currently in development (Picture: MOD).
Aircraft

Next generation fighter demo to hit skies within five years

The supersonic, piloted aircraft will test 21st century technologies in a UK first.

UK and Japan to work together on future fighter jet engine demonstrator Team Tempest CREDIT MOD 22122021.jpg
The demonstrator aircraft is currently in development (Picture: MOD).

A demonstrator aircraft under the UK's future fighter jet programme will fly within half a decade, the Ministry of Defence says.

Currently in development and set to create thousands of jobs, the model will be flown by a pilot – despite previous notions of a remotely-controlled system.

Part of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) programme involving British defence and industry partners (led by BAE Systems), the supersonic effort will be the first time the UK's created a fast jet using 21st century technology.

It follows the recent decision to halt plans for 'Mosquito' – a multimillion-pound project that had hoped to see smaller, unmanned aircraft alongside a primary jet.

The jet will also benefit from Japanese, Swedish and Italian efforts, deepening ties with the countries alongside F-35 fighter exercises.

Tests will hope to inform a full launch in 2035, and the wider Tempest programme includes plans to start an academy for the best and brightest to work on the capability.

Watch: Tempest – inside the fighter jet of the future.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "The design and development of the demonstrator aircraft represents an important milestone, showcasing the success and talent of our engineers,  programmers and software developers.

"This programme will go on to attract opportunities for many more great minds and talent from across the UK."

FCAS now employs 1,000 apprentices and graduates and the UK Director of Future Combat Air, Richard Berthon, describes it as an "exciting, dynamic and inclusive programme, needing a diversity of people, ideas and skills working together".

"We are recruiting fresh talent who will lead FCAS, delivering one of the world's most important defence programmes," he said.