Italy joins UK's Tempest fighter aircraft program

Sept. 11, 2019
Defense industry players from both countries sign agreement at London's Defence and Security Equipment International expo.

LONDON - Today at DSEI, leading UK defense companies - BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, Rolls Royce and MBDA UK - together with their Italian counterparts - Leonardo Italy, Elettronica, Avio Aero and MBDA Italy - announced their intent to partner on the Tempest fighter aircraft program by signing a statement of intent (SOI). The parties will work together 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.

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.

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