ROME, (BM) – According to the Italian media outlet La Stampa, Italy will soon join the UK Tempest program which involves the development of a sixth-generation multi-role fighter and the first European stealth fighter aircraft, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, quoting BeforeFlight.
British sources revealed the scoop to the Italian media following the bilateral meeting between Italian Defense Minister Elisabetta Trenta and her British counterpart Ben Wallace, which was held in Helsinki on September 5. The signing of an initial agreement should take place during the twentieth edition of the Defense & Security Equipment (DSE) fair in London on September 11.
Italy is looking to the advanced fighter jet to replace the Eurofighter fleet of the Italian Air Force.
The Tempest program was announced during the Farnborough International Airshow 2018. The British government, through the Ministry of Defense, has allocated 2 billion pounds (2.3 billion euros) for the initial development of the sixth generation fighter. The Tempest aims to replace the RAF Typhoons by 2035 and to compete with the French-German New Generation Fighter announced during the International Paris Air Show – Le Bourget on July 12, 2017 by Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron.
Italy had expressed interest in the initiative since its announcement, but the nation had never formalized an agreement regarding the program so far, although some members of the Italian Defense have worked on the project right away.
Italy’s membership in the Tempest program will bring several benefits also to the Italian industry as Leonardo is involved in the British project together with BAE Systems, Rolls Royce and MBDA.
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Source: Before Flight