Future Combat Air System

The Future Combat Air System (FCAS) is a futuristic fighter aircraft concept being delivered by Team Tempest and the partner companies. 
In 2018, the Royal Air Force (RAF) celebrated its centenary anniversary. Together, we reflected on our shared history and achievements and we look forward to the next 100 years.
The future combat air system (FCAS) to be delivered by Team Tempest UK is part of this shared vision for the future. In which the UK will maintain its place at the forefront of the global combat air sector, making a pivotal contribution to European and global security.
At BAE Systems, we are proud of our heritage in manufacturing and engineering excellence, of our role in delivering the world’s most advanced and complex defence programmes and of the dedication, passion and innovation of our people.
Image of Tempest aircraft at sunset

Shaping the future of airpower 

Team Tempest brings together the UK’s world leading industry and sovereign capabilities across future combat air’s four key technology areas:
  • advanced combat air systems and integration (BAE Systems);
  • advanced power and propulsion systems (Rolls-Royce);
  • advanced sensors, electronics and avionics (Leonardo);
  • and advanced weapon systems (MBDA).
As part of the Future Combat Air Systems (FCAS) programme we are actively delivering against a number of live work-streams including airframe and next generation technologies. As well as systems of systems concept and integration work.
Together we are harnessing the capabilities that are critical for future combat air capability and for retaining the UK’s position as a globally competitive leader.
The team is working on a broad portfolio of more than sixty technology demonstrations spanning the breadth of combat air systems. Each will develop UK industry’s skills, technologies and capabilities for the future.
Innovation sits at the heart of Team Tempest and our aim is to build on our strong UK heritage of world-class in-service capabilities, and our previous advanced technology development programmes in air systems, propulsion and power, air power, sensors and effectors.
The aims of Team Tempest extend beyond technology and there is a real focus on developing new, collaborative ways of working which will align incentives, minimise transactional costs. 

What is the Future Combat Air System (FCAS)?

In July 2018 Team Tempest was announced by UK Government alongside the launch of the UK's Combat Air Strategy. 
The Combat Air Strategy sets out an ambitious vision for future fighter concepts. Building on the government’s industrial strategy it outlines how the UK will retain its ability to choose how we meet our future stealth fighter requirements.
The Combat Air Strategy delivers a statement of government intent that the UK will remain a global leader in the combat air sector.
Image showing Tempest Future Combat Air System concept

Our crucial role in delivering FCAS


We are immensely proud of our role in supporting the objectives of the UK's Combat Air Strategy. With our highly skilled workforce delivering innovative and cost effective solutions to ensure our customers are best placed to overcome increasingly complex challenges.
Over the last century we have consistently demonstrated our prowess for invention and innovation. Our technical and industrial expertise has enabled the UK to be at the heart of successful international collaborations including Tornado, Typhoon and F-35.
This has ensured significant economic benefit to the UK through:
  • The development of the most advanced technologies;
  • Employment of a highly skilled workforce;
  • Success in the export market.
The UK combat air sector in which we operate has grown to an annual turnover of £6bn, directly supporting over 18,000 jobs and more than 200 companies across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The UK Combat Air Strategy creates the conditions for our sector to thrive and grow.


How will Team Tempest deliver FCAS?

We will develop the technologies necessary to lead the development of a Future Combat Air System, which could be used by the RAF until 2080.
We need thousands of bright minds ready to become the engineers, manufacturers and operators - we're looking for Generation Tempest. 
Today, there are people within the companies which make up Team Tempest who are already working on the early stage of the technologies which may end up in the hands of the RAF pilots of the future.
Technologies like futuristic wearable cockpits, which use gaming technology to beam the controls a pilot needs to fly the aircraft through their helmet. They can then work these controls with the blink of an eye using eye-tracking technology or call up virtual displays by just moving their hands using augmented reality.
CGI of Team Tempest Future Combat Air System concept
This is called ‘cobotics’ and it is all about people and robots working together to build a fighter jet which has not even been designed yet. And, if that sounds like science fiction to you, think again. You can find exactly this technology at work today building parts of the aircraft including Typhoon and F-35, and in the research labs where the technologies of tomorrow are being created today.
There is so much which has already happened towards delivering the vision of Team Tempest, but there’s still more to come.
If you're part of an Air Cadets group, a school party or maybe just visiting the Air Tattoo to watch the amazing displays by aircraft like Typhoon, you could be part of creating the aircraft which will be the star attraction at an air show decades from now.
We're looking for you to join us in our mission and become part of Generation Tempest.

Partner nation

In 2019 leading UK defence companies, together with key Italian Industry announced their intent to partner on the Tempest programme by signing a Statement of Intent (SOI).
UK companies:
  • BAE Systems;
  • Leonardo UK;
  • Rolls Royce;
  •  and MBDA UK.
Italian companies:
  • Leonardo Italy;
  • Elettronica;
  •  Avio Aero
  • and MBDA Italy.
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.