Last December 21 the [Italian] Minister of Defense Lorenzo Guerini, together the United Kingdom and Swedish Secretaries of State for Defense, Ben Wallace and Peter Hultkvist, signed a trilateral agreement for the development of the new Tempest weapon system, crucial for the balance of military and industrial capabilities at European and global level.
The agreement, called Future Combat Air System Cooperation MoU (Memorandum of Understanding), governs the general principles for an equal collaboration between the three countries and concerns all activities including research, development and joint concepting necessary for governments to operate the choice to acquire an advanced aircraft system to replace the Eurofighter. The agreement will be followed by Project Arrangements and the Full Development phase, currently scheduled to start in 2025.
The Tempest programme is among the defense priority programmes. In the Multiannual Planning Document, recently presented to Parliament, a first important line of financing for the Italian participation in Tempest was clearly identified within the Eurofighter programme, to allow the concrete start of activities through the so-called “Typhoon to Tempest transition.”
The FCASC MoU, signed among the only European nations that know, produce and already use 5th generation aeronautical technologies, a necessary basis for the construction of future aircraft, will allow to enhance the national industry, guaranteeing the growth of know-how in a prestigious sector such as that of technologies enabling sixth generation aircraft.
In this context, a further factor of economic growth for the country will be represented by the involvement of national small and medium-sized enterprises, and the Tempest programme will be able to pour out its beneficial effects also on the employment aspect in the defense industry sector, in the Research Centers. and in universities.
Still in the context of the construction of sixth generation aircraft, Italy considers it desirable, as well as other countries participating in both Tempest and the trilateral FCAS project (France, Germany and Spain), the opportunity to evaluate over time a possible convergence of the two programmes, to make the European product even more competitive on a global scale, also in order not to risk the start of competition between European groups, which is not easily sustainable and which would probably risk benefiting other regional players with global capabilities, which are developing similar technologies.
Source Italian MoD. Unofficial translation by EDR On-Line
Image courtesy BAE Systems