Published 21 November 2022

A £31 million contract for highly specialised engineering support for the Future Combat Air Systems (FCAS) programme has been awarded by DE&S to UK Defence firm – QinetiQ.

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Under a three-year contract, the Aurora Engineering Delivery Partnership (EDP) led by QinetiQ will provide technical support to FCAS and the DE&S Catalyst delivery team, which is responsible for delivering the latest combat air capabilities to UK frontline commands.

The contract will support around 45 jobs based in Bristol, Boscombe Down, Farnborough, Malvern, Bath and Lincoln.

Group Captain Mark Butterworth, Deputy Head Catalyst and Chief Engineer for the FCAS portfolio at DE&S, said:

“This was a fantastic opportunity to further reinforce the highly skilled DE&S engineering workforce with individuals who possess an in-depth and invaluable level of knowledge and expertise in specific technical areas.”

Nic Anderson, Chief Executive UK Defence, QinetiQ said:

“The Aurora Engineering Partnership with the UK MOD and DE&S continues to go from strength to strength, providing technical support to the most complex acquisition programmes. Our work with Catalyst DT will help accelerate new ways of working using digital engineering methodologies in supporting the next generation of combat air platforms.”

The delivery will also include the EDP partners Atkins and BMT, along with a number of subcontractors in the EDP provider network.

Minister for Defence Procurement, Alex Chalk said:

“The Future Combat Air Systems programme continues to make good progress, as demonstrated by this latest engineering contract. I am delighted that highly skilled UK industry personnel will lend their support and expertise to the programme, as we work together to deliver a next-generation fighter jet for the future.”

Work carried out by the Aurora Engineering Partnership will enable DE&S to deliver essential engineering strategies for future FCAS capabilities. The partnership will provide engineering support – initially focusing on Human Performance, Safety and Systems Engineering disciplines.

Richard Berthon, Director Future Combat Air, added:

“This contract with Aurora and QinetiQ is a demonstration of our commitment to working with the UK’s leading defence technology companies on FCAS. Their expertise will be vital to the programme as we work at pace to deliver a next-generation combat air capability by 2035.”

The FCAS programme currently employs around 2,500 highly skilled people across the UK including at combat air sector industrial hubs in Scotland, the north-west and south-west of England. The programme now employs 1,000 apprentices and graduates, offering employment opportunities in STEM subjects such as industrial digitisation, artificial intelligence and data analytics.

Tempest was announced at the 2018 Farnborough International Airshow and, since then, has made significant progress with a flying demonstrator currently being built and the ‘Generation Tempest’ initiative being launched to create early careers job opportunities across the UK.