AN engineering giant in Bolton has been showcasing its contribution to an international effort to keep our skies safe for decades to come.

Lostock-based MBDA, with BAE, Rolls Royce and Leonardo, are members of Team Tempest, the UK’s programme to develop unmanned aircraft for the 2030 and 2040s and beyond.

Military hardware from the firm’s Meteor and SPEAR ranges will be adapted to suit the Tempest’s requirements. Before then the missile maker is engaged with a number of joint exercises with partners across the ground defence and future air combat fields.

Several of these developments were showcased at the Defence and Security Equipment International exhibition in London recently.

Chris Allam, MBDA’s managing director for the UK, said: “ The partnership approach provided by Team Tempest will deliver a step change improvement in the time, complexity and cost of weapons system integration campaigns.

“Being involved in the development of novel interfaces, bay designs and integration processes will also be a key enabler to the spiral development of complementing effectors in the future.

“We are utilising our unique role in this collaboration to ensure that a future fighter is able to fully utilise existing weapons and planned weapons, whilst supporting a full range of system-design studies assessing the trade space between the future fighter platform and the weapons of the future.”

Engineers at MDA have been working closely with BAE on a ground attack micro-missile for a hard kill defensive air system, which can track, target and intercept enemy fire.

Other partnerships, with Leonardo and BAE, are exploring sensor networks to increase combat awareness for pilots and payload bay and launcher concepts for air-to-air missiles. Bosses have also been discussing their contribution to ground-based air command projects.

Pioneering work carried out by MBDA and Tempest partners has already seen the British sign international agreement with their counterparts in Sweden and Italy.