The firm say that work is proceeding ‘at pace’ to meet the ambitious timescale for Tempest, which is expected to go into service in 2035.

Leonardo say it has demonstrated the performance of a new radar receiver/warner technology as part of its on-going development work for Tempest, the next generation combat air project which will see the UK, Italy and Sweden working closely together.

“In a laboratory demonstration for the UK Ministry of Defence and other Team Tempest partners, the new sensor demonstrated a direction finding performance of four times what is possible with a typical radar warning receiver while being just 1/10th the size of a standard system. Leonardo UK is one of the four founding members of Team Tempest, which was brought together by the UK MOD to develop a next generation combat air system for the UK and partner nations: since the team was contracted to begin development work in 2018, Italy and Sweden have announced their intent to work with the UK on this project.

Leonardo’s UK role in the team is to develop Tempest’s sensor package and integrate these sensors into the platform’s mission system. The ambitious timescale for the Tempest project, which is working towards seeing a new aircraft in-service with the RAF in 2035, means that Leonardo in the UK is already hard at work developing some of the advanced technologies which will be needed to face the threats of the future.”

One such area of development. say the firm, is in radar warning.

“This technology is used to sense the radio frequency (RF) signals emitted by potentially hostile radars and then use this information for a variety of uses, including warning an operator that an enemy is trying to ‘lock on’ to their aircraft. Such sensors can also support tasks such as intelligence gathering and combat identification.

In future, threat radars are likely to use a range of technologies and software techniques to make it harder to identify their signals, meaning that Tempest’s sensors will need to be sophisticated enough to be able to counter such techniques and flexible enough to be updated in response to new technologies as they emerge on the battlefield.”

The reduced size and weight of the new receiver technology, as well as reduced power requirements, means that it will be possible to integrate the sensor into a multi-function array.

This concept, say Leonardo, is one of a number of innovative ideas being considered for Tempest, could see a number of multi-purpose sensors spread around the aircraft, simultaneously sensing and tracking enemy aircraft, incoming missiles and other threats from all directions, while being fully integrated with a forward-facing radar.

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John Clark
John Clark
9 months ago

So far so good, the 2020 SDSR will give us a good steer as to whether Tempest ever gets wind under its wings.

The project needs to land another key investor to make it rock solid, Japan would be a perfect fit, in terms of high end technology, manufacturing techniques and (most importantly) a requirement for 150 plus airframes.

We must resist ‘at all costs’ to get into bed with the European project, it’s aircraft carrier design constraints (mandatory to the French), will limit its size and therefore range and all up weight…

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
9 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

The US is hell-bent on stopping Japan joining Tempest though. Japan in its own words is trying to reduce its dependence on the USA by diversifying its procurement as well as keeping its industry competitive by getting into bed with a high-tech programme like Tempest.

America in response claims that it is worried about Japan having to try to integrate British tech into existing Japanese and US supply chains and is demanding Japan buy off-the-shelf US planes instead. Once again, the US trying to undermine British aviation when it can’t outcompete, just like with Concorde and Comet

Helions
Helions
9 months ago

Actually, the Japanese have been trying to develop their own Gen V/VI fighter for quite a while since the U.S. Congress passed a law forbidding export of the F22 which the Japanese assumed that they would buy. The JMSDF F15 force is getting long in the tooth and the F35 is not an air superiority fighter which is what they need with a thousand scrambles a year to intercept Chinese and Russian planes violating their airspace. They need an aircraft comparable to the newest in those air forces. Their problem – like the UK’s- is that their requirement for such… Read more »

Sceptical Richard
Sceptical Richard
9 months ago

US will do it’s best to kill Tempest

Joe16
Joe16
9 months ago

I’m not surprised, but that’s the way the world works- there are no friends in love, war and trade! We just have to give the Japanese a package they can’t refuse, and I don’t think that should be difficult. Japan is, I believe, looking at some augmented seeker packages for Meteor among other things; get that baked into the Meteor programme, involve Japanese industry in a more global project (even the US likes Meteor, even if they won’t buy it). Japan operate many of the same/similar platforms we do/will: C-130, F-35B, P-8A, strike aircraft from STOVL carriers/LPH. They may even… Read more »

Branaboy
Branaboy
9 months ago
Reply to  Joe16

UK lost an opportunity to tie Japan to its defence programs by not purchasing the Kawaski P1 maritime patrol platform. It would be more expensive than the current Boeing P8 but long term it would have cemented a UK Japan defence industry alliance.

Peter Crisp
Peter Crisp
9 months ago
Reply to  Branaboy

Aren’t the UK and Japan designing an upgrade to the Meteor missile which could be a key weapon system for this?

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Crisp
pkcasimir
pkcasimir
9 months ago

The US has a mutual defense treaty with Japan guaranteeing that the US will respond militarily if Japan is attacked. It has fighter wings, both Air Force and Marines, and a nuclear carrier with its supporting air wings and supporting ships based in Japan. It has a string of formidable Pacific bases geared towards supporting any conflict supporting Japan. japan is under no obligation to come to the US’s defense if it is attacked. And what is the UK’s contribution to Japan’s defense? It will support a Security Council resolution condemning any nation that attacks Japan. Try living in the… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
9 months ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

We do, the very real world, one where the US has become, and will spend immense amounts of money, to remain at the top of the military tree. That is their choice, one which I welcome and support. Anything wrong with that, not at all, however don’t decry others efforts and contributions, best as can be expected, within their means and STRATEGIC considerations.

Peter Crisp
Peter Crisp
9 months ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

The Japanese may prefer a military partner who doesn’t want to occupy its lands and is happy just with an industrial linking.
It’s up to them where they buy their defence assets and if they decide that Tempest is the best option they should be allowed to do so as they should if they decide a US system offers more.

The UK can now start being a partner with Japan as they’re getting the F-35B which can and I’m sure will see their fighters on the UK carriers and ours on theirs.

pkcasimir
pkcasimir
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Crisp

You see the US forces in Japan as “occupying forces.” You must have gotten that directly from Jeremy Corbyn. It helps to see where you are coming from. Unfortunately for you, the Japanese don’t see it that way. The US is bearing a very large burden in its defense of Japan. Indeed, without an alliance with the US, Japan would be under Chinese Communist influence and would hardly be functioning as an independent country. The UK is totally irrelevant in the Pacific and any Japanese alliance wit the UK would be worthless. If only for the continuity and similarity of… Read more »

Peter Crisp
Peter Crisp
9 months ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

Firstly I voted for the Lid Dems (I may as well have voted monster raving loony party as my area is so solidly conservative) and I have no idea what Corbyn thinks about Japan and secondly I only meant that the US has a lot of Troops in the area but that shouldn’t mean they should be forced to buy US equipment. Why would Japan ask for a defence treaty when just buying combat aircraft? I highly doubt Sweden demanded the UK sign such an agreement when they decided to join the project so why would Japan? You seem under… Read more »

pkcasimir
pkcasimir
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Crisp

Oh, come off of it. You knew exactly what you meant when you referred to US troops stationed in Japan as “occupying forces.” It’s straight out of the Corbynista leftist, viscerally anti-American ideology. You miss my point, either deliberately or naturally. Japan has staked its defense on the US, not the UK. Japan cannot defend itself against China without the US. Japan knows it. China knows it. And anybody with the slightest military smarts knows it. Japan is desperate to maintain its alliance with the US. If you follow Japanese politics, which obviously you don’t, you would have known that.… Read more »

Peter Crisp
Peter Crisp
9 months ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

You seem like a very argumentative sort and I have a feeling whatever I say will just be met by posts similar to those you’ve posted so far. I’m not Anti-American at all and the UK has bought some fantastic assets from them (the P-8 and Apache’s come to mind) but I’m sure anything I say will be ignored because I in-artfully used the word occupy when I just meant stationed. I stand by my comment that the Japanese should be free to choose Tempest or the new Franco/German aircraft if they so choose and I don’t think it will… Read more »

Julian1
Julian1
9 months ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

I’m not sure US forces in the UK have EVER been to defend the UK specifically, it began in 1942 with a plan to use the UK as a forward base from which to attack Germany and liberate occupied Europe. Thereafter, US forces (Air Force) were based in UK in order to reinforce continental Europe as part of the NATO mission quickly and as a launch pad for medium range missiles. It so happened that the UK also proved a useful staging point for most US missions in Europe North Africa and the Middle East. And let’s not forget this… Read more »

Julian1
Julian1
9 months ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

Helion’s response was more balanced and less jingoistic than yours. Take note.

Joe Pineapples
Joe Pineapples
9 months ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

What is it with you cunty americunt pricks and your hard on for the japs? It’s completely creepy and embarrassing. Maybe you stupid fucks should stay in your own country, you idiots don’t belong in the pacific and your nation is washed up. Fuck off.

pkcasimir
pkcasimir
8 months ago
Reply to  Joe Pineapples

Looks like you stopped taking your medication. Or did the NHS run out of it?

N.B. Four US states border the Pacific Ocean and one sits in the middle of it. Looks like you failed geography too.

SD67
SD67
9 months ago
Reply to  pkcasimir

That’s incredibly impressive. It really is. But it doesn’t mean jack if you have nothing to sell them within the required time frame. You declined to sell F22 to Japan and technology transfer has been an issue ever since. It is completely rational for Japan to explore other options.

Callum
Callum
9 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Two very good points. Japan would be a natural partner for Tempest, most likely going for local production and some local tech but with a lot of commonality.

Avoiding the additional requirements France would force on the project should be a high priority for Tempest. Lightning has already proven that emphasing commonality over individual capability in separate roles is a loser, we really can’t afford Tempest to go the same way. Tempest is a land based strike fighter and interceptor, and that is what it should remain.

Peter Crisp
Peter Crisp
9 months ago
Reply to  Callum

How about Australia and Canada? We’ve managed to work with them on Type 26 so why not Tempest as well?

Aaryan
Aaryan
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Crisp

Probably because they wouldn’t be able to afford the development costs of a 6th gen fighter. The type 26 frigates design was practically done before it was bought by Canada and Australia who have only made slight adjustments which is significantly cheaper than developing their own frigate. Fingers crossed Japan joins team Tempest as it might guarantee its success as it would be too big to cut. Maybe India joining wouldn’t be a bad idea as they would also a procure a large amount of the aircraft.

Callum
Callum
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Crisp

I can see them being potential customers for Tempest eventually, but to my knowledge neither has shown interest in 6th gen aircraft yet. We’ll also face a lot of competition from the US, which has significantly stronger aircraft procurement ties with both (they technically do with Japan as well, but Japan is a lot more interested in developing it’s own aircraft and BAE is already helping)

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Crisp

Massively unlikely Canada will have the budget for it, and besides which, their procurement process makes ours look efficient and speedy. If they do start looking for up-to-date fighters, it won’t be for at least a decade yet. They’re still only looking so far as acquiring second hand F18s

mac
mac
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Crisp

Australia & Canada have settled on the F35 for their future air power needs. Neither will operate a mixed fleet.

John Fedup
John Fedup
9 months ago
Reply to  mac

Canada will probably buy the F-35 but with junior you never know. Price wise, the two remaining choices are close. Can’t see Saab wasting money on NORAD compliance.

DJ
DJ
9 months ago
Reply to  mac

Australia currently & always has, operated a mixed fleet. Their ongoing F35A order (72), is to replace retiring classic Hornet fighters. No indication has so far been given on when & what will replace the newer Super Hornets & Growlers (36).

Canada has not settled on anything as yet (competition ongoing). Although they currently operate a single fleet, a mixed fleet is still a possibility, especially if they don’t go with the Super Hornet.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Crisp

Canada is also constrained by their participation in the North American Air Defence network (NORAD). The Europeans have withdrawn the Typhoon from the current Canadian fighter procurement programme, because the aircraft does not meet the technical requirements for participation in NORAD.

Helions
Helions
9 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Which maybe why this buy of F15EX for the USAF was just approved. To give the RCAF an option vs the F35. It would be an excellent fit for their needs IMO.

https://www.janes.com/article/93296/us-lawmakers-approve-eight-f-15ex-aircraft-for-us-air-force-in-fy-2020

Cheers!

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
9 months ago
Reply to  Helions

Thanks Helions,

Interesting and a definate step up compared to the CF-18. Although I would suggest vulnerable to being overtaken 5th / 6th generation aircraft.

Helions
Helions
9 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

True C.R. However, I’m of the opinion it would merely be a placeholder till the U.S. 6th Gen design comes to fruition (which won’t be long since work on it has been accelerated to get it flying by the early 2030s). I’t my opinion that the new design will look far more like this than the F22 or even the Tempest concept. https://www.stripes.com/news/us/does-the-hypersonic-sr-72-aircraft-son-of-blackbird-already-exist-1.506926 It’s really a badly hidden secret that some of these are already flying and account for numerous “UFO” sightings. L.M. basically admitted it’s already built even two years ago. The aircraft will be “optionally manned” which also… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
9 months ago
Reply to  Helions

Hi Helions, I have read about the existance of the SR-72. Of course, having a technology demonstrator is a lot different from an operational aircraft. And there in lies the problem, by the time any new aircraft gets into service most of the systems are based on ‘old’ tech… Speeding up the programme will be quite a challenge. There will always be conflicting requirements and differing priorities in any complex project, not to mention all the usual techie challenges, so I certainly wish the US team the best. I know the US feel the F35 programme has not gone well,… Read more »

Helions
Helions
9 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Honestly C.R. – In a nutshell, It’s my opinion that TPTB have been completely overtaken by events. Technological developments seem to leapfrogged their normal timelines and paradigm shifting developments in weapons systems are coming fast and furious. Everything I see in new aerospace craft development points to either unmanned or optionally manned aircraft. After all, why sacrifice performance and maneuverability critical to survival just to enable the life support of an unneeded pilot? Case in point: https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2019/12/22/amid-a-heated-aircraft-carrier-debate-the-us-navy-sees-funding-slashed-for-a-next-generation-fighter/ As for the F35, I suspect that a combination of new defensive systems such as radars which can “see” the aircraft, systemic problems… Read more »

John Fedup
John Fedup
9 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Another 4 years of Trump might end NORAD as well as NATO in which case Canada could and should consider Tempest now and buy a limited number Gen4+ aircraft now. The F-15EX might be an option, albeit expensive.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
9 months ago
Reply to  John Fedup

Hi John, I very much doubt Trump would lead to the end of NATO and certainly not the end for NORAD. In the case of NATO the President actually defended the alliance in the face of critism from President Macron in London recently! As for NORAD, well as I understand it the NORAD agreement gives the US the right to overfly Canadian airspace in the event of an attack developing on the US from the North in particular i.e. long range Russian bombers coming over the North Pole. In return the Canadians get US radar and fighter cover. The relationship… Read more »

Steve R
Steve R
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Crisp

Probably not in terms of partners in the development of Tempest but they could be potential export customers. That’s something to consider as well; between the UK, Italy, Sweden and Japan that could be an order for possibly 700 airframes max. Between Australia and Canada that might go up to 800, 850 maybe. If we can convince other EU nations to either join Tempest programme or at least buy them instead of the Franco/German plane, then all the better. The more we build the cheaper it becomes. Hopefully we can build them at reasonable enough cost where we can order… Read more »

Joe16
Joe16
9 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

To be fair to the French, not all their ideas are bad; ignoring the more unhelpful things they wanted for Typhoon, they wanted a multi-role capability from the beginning. This would have made it far more competitive on the export market if we’d gone with that plan, rather than add it piecemeal so that it was really only effective for ground attack almost a decade after introduction (and only then because we had to rush it urgently to fill in for Tornado). Bear in mind that the QEs will be out of service ~2050, we may want to replace them… Read more »

Geoffrey Simon Hicking
Geoffrey Simon Hicking
9 months ago
Reply to  Joe16

I wonder if we will be able to make full 100,000 ton carriers next time?

Mark B
Mark B
9 months ago

Firstly I would expect the QEs to go until 2070 and secondly as the QEs are not much shorter than the Ford class I’m not sure what the benefit would be. The difference is weight is probably down to the nuclear shielding. I though CATOBAR was old tech anyway. In 40 years the world might be a different place.

Geoffrey Simon Hicking
Geoffrey Simon Hicking
9 months ago
Reply to  Mark B

It would be interesting to see if there is information on the discrepancy in weight somewhere.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
9 months ago

Hi Geoffrey, If you check out wikipedia you will sea the the Ford class are indeed only slightly longer than the QEC, but they are wider at the waterline and have a larger draught. A simple way of thinking about is this – if you have a volume that is 1m x 1m x 100m and you increase the length by 1m your volume increases from 100m3 to 101m3. If you increase the width by 1m that gives you 2m x 1m x 100m = 200m3. So a small increase in beam or draught greatly increases your displacement in tonnes.… Read more »

Julian1
Julian1
9 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

I think the case has been made well below by our US contributors. Why would oceanic countries threaten their own security by turning their back on the US? It just shows how the UK has really put itself between a rock and a hard place now. Personally, i’d try to recruit one more european partner and keep the project “european” in nature. We have far more in common with our european neighbours than we do anybody else.

Helions
Helions
9 months ago
Reply to  Julian1

Some discussion of joint development of aircraft in this wrap-up.

https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-navy/2019/12/20/japan-approves-record-defense-budget/

Cheers!

SD67
SD67
9 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Personally I think we should just crack on and build whatever we can build by the mid 2020s, with the partners we have now. We can insert new partners and technologies with the Mk 2 evolution. The factories are going to run out of work around 2025 and the current Typhoons are going to start using up airframe life not long thereafter. Pushing the boundaries of science is all very interesting but if the manufacturing capacity is gone then it’s all irrelevant.

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
9 months ago

Fantastic to see life breathed back into British aeronautical engineering. Now, providing that spark isn’t snuffed out by the Americans (as is their tradition to screw our industry over at every turn), it’ll be interesting to see where this takes the country

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
9 months ago

Perfect for Typhoon as well no doubt?

Time to replace the Tranche 1 with more Tranche 3A as Germany seems to be doing and keep the production line open and numbers up until the arrival of Tempest if we intend to go down this route?

“Eurofighter representative noted to Jane’s that the line will remain busy through to Project Quadriga that will see the Luftwaffe replace 32 early Tranche 1 aircraft with up to 38 new build and active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar-equipped Eurofighters. A contract for this is expected from the German government shortly.”

https://www.janes.com/article/93272/germany-receives-final-eurofighter-under-current-programme-of-record

Steve R
Steve R
9 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

We should do the same.

T.S
9 months ago

I do worry with Tempest that with the pace of development these days it could end up being redundant by the time it reaches service. Many of the technologies will have to be locked in to the design in a few years time after which, better tech will likely come along very quickly. They need to set their sights high with this one and ensure it is easily upgradable, whilst creating a platform that has much greater range than current jets and also perform high Mach speeds to match the improvements to missile performance.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
9 months ago
Reply to  T.S

This is the game though. If it’s out before it’s competitors it may snag a larger buy in and even force competing but later launching projects to close. Balancing act.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
9 months ago
Reply to  T.S

So design it like the Grippen E. Maybe this is why they are coming on board?

https://saab.com/gripen/our-fighters/gripen-fighter-system/gripen-e-series/gripen-e/

Andy
Andy
9 months ago
Reply to  T.S

It’s designed to be flexible, I think this is the point, it will always be cutting edge because as soon as some new tech comes out of the lab it will be plugged in. To Tempest and Typhoons it now seems.

Could we see a future common SABRE engine for these two platforms?

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
9 months ago
Reply to  Andy

Quite possibly Andy.

“The then-chief of the air staff, Air Marshal Stephen Hillier, told a conference in London in July that the EJ-200 engine, which powers the Typhoon fighter, was one option under consideration.

Its use in a yet-to-be-launched, British, sixth-generation fighter program known as Tempest could be another potential application, he hinted.”

https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2019/10/22/british-made-hypersonic-engine-passes-key-milestone-at-colorado-test-site/

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
9 months ago
Reply to  T.S

That’s always the case in aircraft development, there are elements of the Typhoon, particularly the first tranche like the computers which were designed in the 80’s and have been replaced in later tranches. There are parts of the F-35 that are already obsolete and its still on initial low rate production.

Harold
Harold
9 months ago

Bet the Tories dump it. We can’t afford vanity projects like this.

mac
mac
9 months ago
Reply to  Harold

They won’t dump it, it’s precisley the kind of project that shows ‘Global Britain’ off. The question is will they sacrifice something to pay for it, such as a reduction in F-35 numbers. Only time will tell.

Mark B
Mark B
9 months ago
Reply to  Harold

If they dump it it will be for something much better

Andy
Andy
9 months ago
Reply to  Harold

They are more likely to double down on it, look at the value for money so far.

David
David
9 months ago
Reply to  Harold

I’l believe Tempest when I see it. Still at a very early stage and, sadly, I don’t think it will ever see the light of day.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
9 months ago

If I remember rightly the UK put £1b into this project last year. Looks like they are getting something back for our money which is very good news so early on. I suspect that this type of technology could have positive implications for existing platforms i.e. Typhoon, so even if Tempest doesn’t go a head we may get some very useful tech from the programme. Whichever way it goes, this is positive news for the UK and our friends and allies. I would like to see Japan come on board for reasons already articulated by Helions and Joe16, but also… Read more »

Steve R
Steve R
9 months ago

Good news re: Tempest. Hopefully we can get Japan involved, maybe a few others either to share development or at least as export customers. Australia and Canada could possibly purchase some. We need to be able to build as many as possible to keep costs down; my worry is that costs will spiral and we wont be able to afford many of them. We placed an initial order for 232 Typhoons and ended up with 160, with about 120 in stock currently? How many Tempests would we need? I feel around 180; could get 8 combat squadrons out of that… Read more »

Andy
Andy
9 months ago

These should sell well in the Middle East, CANZUK and hopefully the USA. Either materially or intellectually.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
9 months ago

Here we go again.
What a disaster and a sign of things to come no doubt.

UK approves £4bn US takeover of defence company Cobham.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-50874181

Peter Crisp
Peter Crisp
9 months ago

When are we expecting the start of any flight testing? I realise it’ll be at least 5 years from now but considering combat aircraft have a vast range of flight operations it must take quite a while to get to a point where they can have a product that’s fit for service?

Peter Crisp
Peter Crisp
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter Crisp

Sorry for replying to my own post but I can’t edit so here I am again.
Do any of the fuel saving innovations from passenger jets get implemented as it’s a big issue now with Rolls-Royce (who I’m assuming will make the engines) spending a lot of money on that so will we get a much more efficient engine than say the F-35 or Eurofighter?

Oliver
Oliver
9 months ago

What is the likelihood of Japan joining the program and what time frame would that be in if they do?

Reaper
Reaper
9 months ago

If an operational tempest goes wheels up in 2035 I’ll eat my hat. I pray that I’m wrong and we revolutionise our development in the upcoming years but I’m not hopeful based on the last 40 years of defdev

Peter Crisp
Peter Crisp
9 months ago
Reply to  Reaper

That’s still 15 years away though so that should give them time.
If we can’t get a new aircraft into service in that timeframe it’s pretty rubbish. I know it may be an odd comparison but will the new UK Dreadnought subs take 15 years to go from design to into service?