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The UK, France and Germany have all now proclaimed their intent to develop sixth-generation stealth jets and backed that up with initial investments. However, it will likely be a while before we can tell whether the respective governments can sustain the long-term financial outlays, international cooperation, and technically challenging development processes to produce Europe’s first stealth jet.

With a flourish of a silk curtain at the Farnborough Air Show on July 16, British defense secretary Gavin Williamson unveiled a full-scale model of the Tempest, the UK’s concept for a domestically built twin-engine stealth fighter to enter service in the 2030s. The Tempest will supposedly boast a laundry list of sixth-generation technologies such as being optionally-manned, mounting hypersonic or directed energy weapons, and capability to deploy and control drone swarms. However, it may also represent a Brexit-era gambit to revive defense cooperation with Germany and France.

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