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Wednesday, December 07, 2022

UK defense boost as new Tempest fighter jet to give Britain ‘impugnable leadership’

The news comes as the RAF’s future flagship fighter jet will replace the Eurofighter Typhoon by 2040. Unveiled in 2018, the UK-led project will see BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Leonardo and MBDA combine to create a force major airline. as new generation aircraft begin to take to the skies. With more than 2,000 employees already employed on the project, the joint venture is already in its Concept and Evaluation (C&A) phase of the Acquisition program launched in July last year.

Until now, the Tempest has enjoyed relatively little competition from rival manufacturers in the field of sixth-generation aircraft, with the Franco-German-Spanish equivalent, the SCAF, stuck in limbo due to disagreements over technology sharing between the two. the trio

Suggesting that the pause in advances by European competitors will benefit Britain, Tim Robinson, editor-in-chief of Aerosociety.com, said: “The head start of a decade without a European competitor could allow Tempest to build an unassailable lead.” .

However, Robinson mentioned that the UK was not alone in the world when it comes to developing a sixth-generation fighter.

He said: “The United States is working on sixth generation projects through its Next-Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program and has reportedly already flown a demonstrator.

“However, the cost of this is already rising and a recent statement from Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall revealed that it could be double the price of the F-35.

“That ‘label shock’ could then exclude many countries from acquiring a sixth-generation fighter, along with US export restrictions.

“Elsewhere, there are also other indigenous future fighter projects underway in Japan (FX),

South Korea (KF-X) and India (AMCA) which may or may not affect Tempest’s final export figures.”

An important factor in the construction of the Tempest is cost, particularly as the UK has pledged to increase defense spending in the wake of the NATO summit in Madrid and the continuing security risk posed by Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

The C&A phase will see BAE Systems receive £250m from partners as the concept comes to fruition.

The UK plans to invest a further £2bn in the project over the next four years.

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One of the biggest announcements is Tempest’s plans to cut costs by reversing the trend of stretching development times in half, creating a more efficient budget compared to previous generations and aircraft types.

The Tempest project will also launch Britain onto the global stage through cooperation with international partners.

Japan’s possible collaboration in the project vindicates “global Britain,” marking a change in Tokyo’s more than 70 years of dependence on US military aircraft.

In addition, Britain-based Rolls-Royce will also play a major role in the project, once again promoting UK engineering in the process.

Rolls-Royce’s integrated electric starter will enable a reduced fuselage profile for the jet engines that will power the Tempest.

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Speaking of the technology, John Stocker, BAE Systems business development director responsible for FCAS, said: “This system will generate exponentially more data than anything that has been done before from a combat air point of view.”

What now remains for the project is to develop the business case for the project to not only be a system operator but also generate revenue from the sale of the type to allied partners.

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Discussing the next stages of the Tempest project, Mr. Stocker concluded: “The next program milestone for Tempest, he says, will be the business case outline in late 2024, followed by the full business case in 2025, kicking off a decade sprint. to the IOC 2035 finish line that will fully unlock the possibilities and speed that digital design, engineering and manufacturing promise.”

Wrapping up his views on the project, Aerosociety Editor-in-Chief Mr Robinson said: “While much of this progress may lie within computers, simulation and the right association model, there is no doubt that that Tempest is preparing to take over the world. ”

Additional reporting by Anna Gosling


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