The United Kingdom recently unveiled its newest fighter jet, the completely British Tempest. The Ministry of Defense announced the development of the jet nearly entirely within the U.K.
British-Made Fighter Jet
The U.K. Ministry of Defense has announced that the Tempest fighter jet will be developed almost wholly within Great Britain.
The goal is to be able to use the plane to demonstrate the country’s military aptitude even as Brexit approaches. It also seeks to demonstrate this to its long-time allies and defense partners, particularly as the United States continues to withdraw into isolationism.
Today’s Royal Air Force
At the moment, the key aircraft of the Royal Air Force are the F-35 from Lockheed Martin, and the Eurofighter Typhoon. Those aircraft are both multinational vehicles. That said, the United Kingdom is seeking to develop and produce its own military aircraft. The Tempest is built on a foundation of what the U.K. has learned from its other jets, and an effort to improve upon them.
The Royal Air Force took the opportunity to unveil the Tempest at the Farnborough Airshow. It looks not entirely unlike the F-22 Raptor. It has twin engines and two vertical stabilizers. The Air Force referred to the craft as a sixth generation fighter.
If that is accurate, it would place the U.K. ahead of the current fifth generation fighters. Those include the F-35 from the United States, the Chengdu J-20 from China, and the Sukhoi Su-57 from Russia. That said, each of those countries – as well as Germany and France – are also working on sixth generation fighter jets.
“We are entering a dangerous new era of warfare, so our main focus has to be the future,” said Gavin Williamson, the US Defense Secretary, when speaking at the Farnborough Airshow’s Tempest unveiling. “Today, we offer you a glimpse of tomorrow.”
The ministry will be channeling $2.6 billion to the Tempest’s development. The aircraft’s creation should take until 2025. From there, it will take until 2035 before the first of the final aircraft is complete.
With the U.K.’s upcoming isolation following Brexit, many analysts are not surprised that the Royal Air Force would pursue the development of its own fighter jets.