Seven companies across the UK have signed agreements to work on future combat air concepts across Team Tempest.

Under the first phase, the companies are Bombardier Belfast, Collins Aerospace, GE Aviation UK, GKN Aerospace, Martin-Baker, QinetiQ and Thales UK.

More companies will be announced going forward. The alliance will bring additional expertise into the Team Tempest project.

Team Tempest is a collaboration between BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, MBDA UK, Rolls-Royce and the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) for developing economical and efficient technologies.

Launched in 2018, Team Tempest is working with the UK MoD on the £1.9bn ($2.4bn) Future Combat Air System (FCAS) project.

Once developed, the combat aircraft will replace the Typhoon.

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BAE Systems Air sector manufacturing director Dave Holmes said: “They will work alongside us as we seek to develop the generation-defining combat air capability, which will help safeguard the security of our nation and our allies to the end of this century.

“In addition, by developing the wider industry team, we will help contribute to the retention, growth and investment in a wider world-class UK skills base.

“Collaborations, with some of the brightest and best across the country, show that Tempest is becoming a truly national endeavour and we are delivering on our promise to take new approaches to drive significant pace and efficiency into the programme.”

In close collaboration, the companies will support more than 60 technology demonstration activities that are currently underway.

The team is expected to demonstrate technology swiftly and at a lower cost than previous complex combat air programmes.

UK Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin said: “Today’s announcement demonstrates further progress in delivering the UK’s combat air strategy, with more companies collaborating on the future of the UK’s Air Defence.

“This is a highly innovative project, based around cutting-edge technology and drawing on a skills base where the UK excels.”