PPRuNe Forums - View Single Post - UK unveils new next generation fighter jet, the 'Tempest'
Old 6th Aug 2018, 08:37
  #138 (permalink)  
Just This Once...
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 1,941
It is remarkable how eager we are to do the UK aero industry a disservice. The UK leads on the trickier bits of the Airbus series (aerodynamics, wings and a number of other key components), has a substantial part of the satellite market, effectively designed the fit, form and function of 'multinational' aircraft such as Tornado and (as has already been mentioned) there is more than just a nod of EAP in Typhoon. Same goes for both civilian and military engine design. We have a great deal invested in air weapon systems and made a reasonable effort in selling some UK designs on the international market.

Even in the post-TSR2 period we did ok going our own way with the Hawk, Harrier I and Sea Harrier and we worked well in bringing some US DNA into the Harrier II. The reciprocal is also true as there is a considerable amount of UK technical and commercial input into the JSF program. I contend that we do have the baseline required to go it alone and given the history with political and financial delays caused by multinational programmes (eg German EFA delays) or for European countries to overstate their planned production numbers to gain a commercial work share advantage. Germany and Italy purchased far fewer Tornados than they claimed at outset whilst the UK actually exceeded their commitment.

Going it alone in modern parlance is effectively leading all stages of design and production - whilst still allowing international companies to compete and contribute to parts of the programme at the discretion of the lead country. We have done it in the past and continue to do so in other specialised industries (space, automotive, F1, pharmaceuticals et al) and given the recent pain and risk brought about by multinational programmes we may well do better by leading a new aircraft programme rather than just participating.
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