Leonardo in Luton celebrates future combat air progress with international partners

The Future Combat Air (GCAP UK) team celebrated at the RAF museum in Hendon.The Future Combat Air (GCAP UK) team celebrated at the RAF museum in Hendon.
The Future Combat Air (GCAP UK) team celebrated at the RAF museum in Hendon.
Attendees included former fighter pilots and engineers

Luton-based aerospace engineering company held a celebration of the progress made on its Global Combat Air Programme at the RAF museum in Hendon.

The RAF museum proved to be a fitting setting for the event, with the historic exploits of the service having captured the imagination of engineers past and present.

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Back in 2018, the biggest players in the UK combat air industry (Leonardo UK, BAE Systems, Rolls Royce and MBDA) came together as Team Tempest to forge the future of UK combat air technology. In December 2022, the endeavour went international with the announcement that the Tempest partners would support the development, in partnership with Japan and Italy, of a sixth generation fighter aircraft under the new Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP). The new fighter is expected to go into service with the RAF in 2035.

The celebration at RAF Hendon drew together 150 attendees from all of Leonardo's disciplines, including ex-fighter pilots, engineers and project managers from across the Leonardo sites in Luton, Edinburgh, Bristol, Basildon and Southampton. The Leonardo engineers had much to celebrate, since they have been breaking new ground in integrated sensing capability that will act as the central nervous system of the new fighter aircraft.

Luton-based Andrew Howard, Director Future Combat Air (GCAP UK), who is leading Leonardo UK’s GCAP activities, said: “Taking the Future Combat Air (GCAP) community to RAF Hendon to celebrate the progress we have made on Tempest since 2015 and now the GCAP programme was a great and important milestone for our growing team. We wanted to bring the group together to share our exciting technical progress and an update on our deepening relationship with our Italian and Japanese partners. The Global Combat Air Programme, (GCAP), remains the cornerstone of our future business and crucial to the long term development of the Luton site.”