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UK's Tempest sixth-generation fighter programme

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--- Quote ---Tempest and the Future of Combat Air

In 2018, we stood beside the RAF as it celebrated its 100th birthday. Together, we reflected on our shared history and achievements. We also looked forward to the next 100 years. As we stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the RAF at Farnborough International Air Show, we revealed our shared vision for a future in which the UK will maintain its place at the forefront of the global combat air sector for the next 100 years, making a pivotal contribution to European and global security. These pages provide news and information about how we’re making this bold vision a reality.
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--- Quote ---Combat Air Strategy

The strategy defines a clear way ahead to preserve our national advantage and for the UK to maintain choice in how this is delivered. It enables the UK to reap the economic, international and strategic benefits of a major role in a future combat air programme. It highlights the criticality of cutting-edge UK technology and intellectual property, including how this can be generated, sustained and exploited. It reinforces the importance of effective international partnering in delivering future capability.

The importance of the strategy should not be underestimated. The future of our sector is not assured.  The threats we face are evolving and proliferating at pace. The importance of information advantage has never been higher and we must do things differently to retain operational advantage in this space.

We welcome the strategy. From its commitment to further investment in Typhoon and F-35 to the establishment of Team Tempest and the launch of the acquisition programme to deliver the capabilities required when early UK Typhoons begin to go out of service in the early 2040s, one thing is clear: the UK’s strategic approach to combat air will maximise the overall national value the UK derives from our sector; balancing military capability, international influence, economic and prosperity benefits.
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--- Quote ---Leonardo targets role on UK's Tempest next-gen fighter

Although the company is headquartered in Rome, it has a large presence in the UK, including the former Selex operation.

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Leonardo is a partner in the Eurofighter consortium, producing around 20% of each aircraft – principally the port-side wing – and performing final assembly on those for the Italian air force and some export customers.

At the 2018 Farnborough air show, the UK government revealed plans for the Tempest project as part of the country's future combat air strategy.

A concept for the aircraft was developed through a collaboration named "Team Tempest", which includes Leonardo alongside BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce – as respective airframe and engine suppliers – MBDA and the Royal Air Force's Rapid Capabilities Office.
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--- Quote ---Sweden to join British ‘Tempest’ next-gen fighter push

LONDON – Sweden is set to become the first international partner to join the British “Tempest” sixth-generation fighter program.

An announcement involving the governments and industries of the two nations is expected to be made at the three-day Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) event, which begins July 19 at RAF Fairford, according to industry executives.

The British government took the wraps off the Tempest program at the Farnborough Air Show last year. The project is the main attraction in a new combat air strategy stitched together largely to enable the British defense aerospace industry to maintain its technological edge in developing jet fighters.

The Conservative government pledged £2 billion, or $2.5 billion, to fund the early stages of the program, which is being led on the industry side by BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, missile maker MBDA and the UK arm of Leonardo, a key supplier of systems like the radar.

But government officials have always made it clear that the Tempest program was affordable only with the involvement of foreign partners bringing money, technology and markets to the table.
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A visitor sits in the model of the Tempest fighter jet during the Farnborough Airshow, southwest of London, on July 16, 2018. The jet design lacks a traditional cockpit display, instead relying on a virtual HUD projected through the pilot's helmet. (TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)


Image: Britain's defence minister, Gavin Wiliamson (UNSEEN), unveiled a model of a new jet fighter, called 'Tempest' at the Farnborough Airshow, in Farnborough, Britain July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo

Forget the F-35: The Tempest Could Be the Future (Armed with Lasers, Hypersonic Missiles and Swarms) | The National Interest - July 21, 2018

--- Quote ---Rolls Royce boasts that the Tempest’s stealthily recessed adaptive-cycle turbofans will be made of lightweight composite materials, feature superior thermal management and digital maintenance controls, and generate large quantities of electricity through magnets in the turbine cores.

Surplus electricity may be of particular interest for powering directed energy weapons, which could range from lasers to microwaves. The U.S. Air Force plans to test a defensive anti-missile laser turret for its jets in the early 2020s, but the Tempest presentation mentions using direct energy weapons for ‘non-kinetic’ purposes, which may imply disrupting or damaging adversary sensors.
The Tempest is to have a modular internal payload bay which can be reconfigured for various sensors or weapons. A Meteor long-range air-to-air missiles and a SPEAR-3 cruise missile were displayed next to the mock-up, and compatibility with next-generation “Deep Strike” missiles is also listed. The presentation at Farnborough also lists hypersonic missiles (which travel over five times the speed of sound, making interception extremely difficult) and swarms of deadly drones as offensive capabilities. To ease the workload on the pilot, the aircraft would utilize artificial intelligence and machine learning to optimize the drone’s behavior.

Like the F-35, the Tempest would employ a diverse array of passive and active sensors, and a Tempest pilot may able to gaze “through” his or her own plane using a helmet-mounted device, which may also replace conventional cockpit display panels. “Cooperative Engagement” technology would also allow a Tempest to fuse sensor data with friendly aircraft, ships or ground forces using “reconfigurable” communication systems and data links. This could allow one platform to hand off sensor data to another platform, which could then launch missiles without exposing itself.
However, the F-35’s networked computers have aroused fears that it is vulnerable to hacking—thus the presentation lists “resilience to cyberattack” as a characteristic of the Tempest. This could pose additional challenges given plans for the Tempest to be “optionally manned”—which means it can be flown remotely without an onboard pilot if preferred. Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles are generally thought to be the future of air warfare, but air forces so far are opting to test the waters by contemplating optionally-manned fighters. However, though optionally manned fighters offer a means to avoid putting pilots at risk on dangerous missions, they still come with the cost and performance disadvantages of manned aircraft.
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