Tempest is expected to complement the F-35 and eventually replace Typhoon.

It is understood that £2 billion in initial funding will be set out to oversee the design and build of the aircraft concept, which will be operational in 2035. The project is a joint venture between BAE Systems, Rolls Royce, MBDA UK Ltd and Leonardo.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said as he also launched the UK’s new Combat Air Strategy:

“We have been a world leader in the combat air sector for a century, with an enviable array of skills and technology, and this Strategy makes clear that we are determined to make sure it stays that way. It shows our allies that we are open to working together to protect the skies in an increasingly threatening future – and this concept model is just a glimpse into what the future could look like.

British defence industry is a huge contributor to UK prosperity, creating thousands of jobs in a thriving advanced manufacturing sector, and generating a UK sovereign capability that is the best in the world.

Today’s news leaves industry, our military, the country, and our allies in no doubt that the UK will be flying high in the combat air sector as we move into the next generation.”

The aircraft will no doubt put many of you in mind of Replica, a design study for an envisioned military aircraft with stealth capabilities, developed by BAE Systems. It was ultimately not pursued  after the 90’s as the British government chose to proceed with involvement in the Joint Strike Fighter program instead, which ultimately led to the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. Experience and data acquired through the programme was later rolled into the Joint Strike Fighter.

As part of the study, a full size model of the aircraft was constructed and was subjected to a rigorous test regime to determine its radar cross section. The model is shown below.

Image result for bae replica

According to reports, the Replica project is known to have been worked on from 1994 to 1999. It was also widely believed that Replica could have been intended to inform work on new generation aircraft and that looks to have been somewhat accurate, even based on how similar the design looks to Tempest.

The concept aircraft has been put together by British firms including BAE Systems, Leonardo, MBDA and Rolls-Royce, which have joined together with the RAF Rapid Capabilities Office to form ‘Team Tempest’ to pursue the opportunity.

An official computer generated image of Tempest from the Combat Air Strategy.

Team Tempest brings together the UK’s world leading industry and sovereign capabilities across future combat air’s four key technology areas: advanced combat air systems and integration (BAE Systems); advanced power and propulsion systems (Rolls-Royce); advanced sensors, electronics and avionics (Leonardo) and advanced weapon systems (MBDA).

The MiD will now set up a dedicated team to deliver the combat air acquisition programme. They will deliver a business case by the end of the year, and have initial conclusions on international partners by next summer – with engagement with potential partners beginning immediately.

Early decisions around how to acquire the capability will be confirmed by the end of 2020, before final investment decisions are made by 2025. The aim is then for a next generation platform to have operational capability by 2035. The Government say that F-35 Lightning II and the Typhoon are two complementary multi-role combat aircraft that will make up the RAF’s combat air fleet, “placing the UK at the forefront of combat air technology” – with the Typhoon expected to remain in UK service until at least 2040.

Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, said:

“The Combat Air Strategy will bring together the best of our people, industry and international partners to support the RAF lift-off into the next century of air power. Team Tempest demonstrates our commitment in ensuring that we continue to build our capabilities, draw upon our experience and history to bring forward a compelling vision for the next generation fighter jet. In last 100 years, the RAF has led the way and today’s announcement is a clear demonstration of what lies ahead.”

Charles Woodburn, Chief Executive of BAE Systems, said:

“The UK’s combat air capability, built by generations of committed and highly skilled people through a century long partnership between the RAF and industry, is admired the world over. The UK Government’s Combat Air Strategy is a powerful statement of intent to invest in next generation combat air systems. We’re proud to play a key role in this important programme, with our world leading technology, capability and skills, which will contribute to the UK’s defence and prosperity for decades to come.”

Warren East, Chief Executive Officer of Rolls-Royce, said:

“As the UK’s long-term power and propulsion partner, we warmly welcome the Government’s announcement of a Combat Air Strategy. The UK’s capability in combat air power and propulsion is at a critical point and this long-term commitment from Government will allow us to protect the expertise and key skills that are vital to retaining sovereign capability. It ensures that we are able to develop and deliver the advanced technologies that will be required in future combat air systems to help ensure our national security.”

Copyright BAE Systems.

Norman Bone, Chairman and Managing Director of Leonardo in the UK, said:

“As Britain’s national champion for advanced defence electronics, we are proud to be a part of Team Tempest. Work we have conducted under research and development programmes such as FOAS and FCAS has significantly advanced our thinking with regards to the complex electronics required for future air combat scenarios and we stand ready to support the future needs of the Royal Air Force. We are excited about the work that’s already been done, and the work still to do, on the FCAS TI programme and are all set for these activities to feed into the Typhoon successor programme.”

Chris Allam, Managing Director of MBDA UK, said:“MBDA is proud to be providing its complex weapons expertise to the Team Tempest partnership. Delivering effects is central to next generation combat air systems, and we will continue to invest in developing our world leading complex weapons and novel technologies to ensure the UK retains sovereign operational advantage and freedom of action in Combat Air. The strong partnership (through the Portfolio Management Agreement) between MBDA and the MoD has already changed the paradigm for complex weapons developments in the UK, delivered world leading capabilities to the UK Armed Forces and provided savings in terms of both time and money. The Team Tempest partnership has the potential to do the same for Combat Air.”

191 COMMENTS

  1. The UK opening gambit for a multi national combat aircraft project.

    UK aerospace is a world leader regards technology.

    Sweden and Japan possible partners. The French will demand design leadership which will exclude itself from any project.

    • Great! Looks like someone at MoD, BAE etc has been reading the suggestions in this forum (or great minds think alike:). Let’s try to get a prototype going quickly as mentioned on the statement. Use as much as possible existing tech and component re-use from typhoon with new airframe & skin and then iterate to a proven design. We can then partner up with whomever we want Sweden, Japan, Canada and even Germany and France.

      Typhoon ++

        • You don’t want France or Germany and it’s for opposite reasons.

          French are greedy for tech and leadership share. They care greatly about industrial reasons too, but because they have decent tech, they can front the idea that it’s about making a better plane, and to be fair the french can make a much better plane than the germans.

          the germans on the other hand are all about politics/economics and industrial share. they’ll cut short any order to a mathematical degree to ensure the most dollar per worker.

      • (Chris H) andyreeves – Why? We have the F-35B. It does all we need a STOVL aircraft to do. I hope the new Tempest will be an advanced LO version of the bomb truck the Typhoon is becoming.

        We must not fall into the trap of trying to outdo the Yanks on F-35 but build a better version of what we are already good at. Typhoon + F-35 is a formidable suppression, targeting and heavy weapon deployment system with nothing like it anywhere else in the world (and I include the USA). F-15 / F-18s are now well past their sell by date, cannot compete with a Tranche 3 Typhoon and the USa has no replacements for them other than the smaller and less capable (in weapon load) F-35. The French have no 5th gen capability at all.

        If we play this right we will be delivering a niche product at the right price (given its an evolution not a radical design) and could find a welcome all over the world in Air Forces that need 5th Gen but not at any price.

    • Marcus is right. Dassault was given leadership of the new Franco-German project just recently. Neither Dassault nor Airbus has any significant experience of LO technologies, so theirs will be a difficult path. Expect Germany to flip flop.

    • it’s an anglo-italian industrial partnership. Did you read the article? Bae(UK)+Mbda(UK/Italy)+RR(UK)+Leonardo(Italy)

      • Certain UK environment are so absorbed by Brexit and by the idea of returning at last an island that mistake nationality. Leonardo, even if it’s a multinational conglomerate, is an Italian firm, not an English one.

  2. Difficult to make out from the photos, but looks a lot like the Mitsubishi X-2 Shinshin. But double nose landing gear? Carrier capable?

    • I don’t think it looks much like the x-2. For a start the X-2 had tailplanes and a standard delta style wing.

      • I now see, the second render imagine with the F35 and typhoon didn’t show when I loadd the page first. Agree, but your getting wing type mixed. Tempest looks like a delta wing.

        • Tempest has an advanced delta form (It is not a pure triangle as the wing extends back from the inside trailing edge) The X-2 is just a plain clipped triangle shape.

          • Agree, its an advanced delta with the trailing edge closer to those found on stealthy flying wing designs. Delta wing should give high manoeuvrability.

    • That’s what I thought Expat, I know it’s only a mock up but looking at the nose wheel it does look like that carrier operations may well have been in the back of the design teams mind.

      We are going to have to bite the bullet at some point and address the issue over the QEC carriers and catapults. All the UCAVs the USN are developing will require them and we will probably going to need to install at least one on each ship if we want to operate the latest equipment throughout the carriers lifespan. Better to do it sooner rather and later especially if we are developing a new manned fighter than may well have the option for a navalised variant.

      • The double noes wheels mean nothing. The Grippen has double nose wheels and that was not carrier designed.

        I doubt cats will be put on the carriers anytime soon. Maybe small ones to launch UAVs but the cost of adding them to the current design is huge. Plus there are benefits to flying off them with VSTOL (Bringing home unused weapons being one of them)

        • Lee1 you are correct the carriers will not be redesigned for a cat for the same reason they wernt redesigned during build. An electromagnet cat would require everything for 3 decks under the fight deck to be ripped out and redesigned

          • @Andy G

            That would raise the deck level almost 3 decks high! That would bring the deck level just under the bridge! I am not sure that would be a good idea…

        • Agreed it means nothing on the mock up, but designers don’t add weight for no reason. The Gripen has very short strip capabilities the nose wheel takes increased loads on landing. You can’t discount a naval version though, fit 2 f135 engines or equivalents you have huge amount of thrust, twice that of a typhoon. CATS may not be needed in the future. Also we’re going to see big changes in hybrid propulsion, future a/c may charge super capacitors before take off to drive addition lift or thrust devices. Science fiction, perhaps, but its difficult to imagine that tech that Uber, Rolls and other companies are working on for the civilian market would not find military applications.

          • Agreed we are talking best part of 20 years hence here so it will depend on the development of Electro magnetic launching combined with the true in service decisions for the Carriers to know whats planned and whatever is the plan now that is likely to be different in 10 years when perhaps longish term mid life updates might be considered for the carriers. Thus I would presume that certainly at this stage of concept a carrier capability for this fighter would be in mind even if relatively lowish on the priority stakes I suspect because who knows what will be needed and what capacity F35 has to provide it in 20years+ time. How incredibly embarrassing if we were forced to buy a stop gap solution for the carriers in 25 years or so due to advancements and changing scenarios. The reason for Gripen’s dual wheel configuration certainly is not a convincing one for this aircraft in its own right UNLESS of course the design is taking in potential Swedish participation. Its always good to look like you care as early as possible in such matters if you want others on side, the opposite to the French attitude of course which is take it or leave it.

          • Cats will always be needed for non VSTOL. The thrust will need to be immense to compete with the weapon and fuel load of a cat launch. Look at the Russians. They use non cat launched takeoff with a pretty high thrust the weight ration and they are pretty much useless (Despite what putin says).

            Also as I have said. there are some real benefits to VSTOL in regard to bringing unused weapons back. Arrested aircraft have to dump all their weapons at sea…

  3. This is much more like the confidence and investment in our industries I have been wanting to see. Exciting stuff and proud we are finally doing it ourselves. Let’s hope they come up with something great.

      • (Chris H) Without wishing to open up that contentious debate but rather just to put numbers in context:
        This project’s initial funding is some £2 Bn
        The carriers cost some £7 Bn
        We send over £13 Bn (average) every year to Brussels …

        • @Chris

          And they send about £4.5 Bn back. So we will save around £8.5 Bn. Not to be sniffed at but also not £13 Bn.

          • (Chris H) Lee1 – I fear I am being drawn precisely into the area I am trying to avoid but your comment requires the obvious reply. That £4 Bn the EU ‘spends’ here is our money we have paid them that they then recycle back to us with a daft blue flag on top (after taking their percentage). And they decide whether or not our money is spent, if at all, and where

            If I gave you £13 and then 3 months later you bought a lamp for my front room costing £4 that I didn’t want I would still have had to find the £20 in the first place and end up with something that suits your ideas not mine. I’d rather keep my £20 thanks

          • @Chris.

            I agree to a point. However it is highly likely that we would spend that money on the same thing anyway or on something else non-defence related. The simple fact is that we will be about £8.5 billion better off with regard to the payments we currently make. Whether the economy will suffer or benefit from Brexit is still to be seen. We could be better off and therefore be able to afford more defence capability or we could be worse off and that £8.5 Bn might be wiped out.

            Also remember that that money has also been promised to the NHS so is unlikely to be spent on defence.

  4. Better than them getting leadership, stealing a good slice of our share of the work, and running off with our technology…….

      • The French did exactly that with the Eurofighter. They stayed in the project until it was clear no one else wanted a carrier fighter and so they took their knowledge, plans and data and went and built the Rafale.

        • Yeah, no. I mean, look at both aircraft now: they have significantly different missions and capabilities. Navalization was only one of many reasons why France parted its own way, as the Typhoon is overall a much less complete aircraft: lack of capability in the deep strike (inc. nuclear) & reconnaissance missions.

          And no, sorry to break it for you, but we did not steal plans and knowledge and built our own Typhoon version. Heck, Rafale A demonstrator was flying even before EAP took the skies… (which was nicknamed “Encore Au Parking”, or “still on the ramp”, by Dassault..). It’s a shame that Brits have such a salty analysis of French aerospace.

          • (Chris H) Marcus – I am sorry I can’t let your re-write of history go unchallenged:
            * TYphoon and Rafale have almost identical mission profiles but different capabilities. the Typhoon has a far more advanced sensor and self defence suite, its radar is far more capable in range, sensitivity, resolution and all round scope.
            * While you are right a naval version of Typhoon really was not an issue the Typhoon is as capable in the strike role as the Rafale. You need to offer facts in context of UK vs French capabilities. The French didn’t have the Tornado as we did early on which was our deep strike / GA platform. We therefore had no need to rush development of the Typhoon as you French did because basically you had no other advanced platform.
            * We have never used advanced QRA / Strike jets for reconnaissance. Targeting and local surveillance yes
            * The French most certainly gained key aerofoil, flight performance projections, design guides, stress forecasts and all the other key data any nation needs to build an advanced fighter aircraft. And by the way BOTH were originally designed as QRA / Interceptors and upgraded in a hurry later in 2008. The almost identical shape and size of the two is I am sure a pure coincidence – A Dassault image that appeared out of nowhere
            * The Rafale A first flight was on July 4 1986. The BAE EAP first flight was on August 8 1986. Well done you were 35 days ahead.

            Maybe we have a ‘such a salty analysis’ of French aerospace as you have frequently messed us about. Tornado, Jaguar, Typhoon and of course the PA-02 carriers that you reneged on. The French are untrustworthy in the extreme as I have found out in the commercial world and you prove in international alliances (who baled out of NATO and left the rest of us to defend you) and especially towards ‘ Perfidious Albion’ in matters military. I have my opinions on why history shows this to be so but they are best not played out here.

          • (Chris H) and for clarity the main reasons the other partners could not possibly agree to the French demands in the Typhoon project were:
            * French design leadership and control
            * Use of inferior SNECMA engines built in France alone
            * A Naval version
            * Majority French workshare
            * French reluctance to commit to firm orders
            *French lack of money

            Classic Gallic greed not being met and so they wandered off in a huff? Or more likely a choreographed set of disagreements that enabled the French to leave without paying compensation to the others … Whatever utterly disgraceful actions from a so called friend and ally. the Germans and French deserve each other in Galileo and the new fighter for the EU Air Force

          • Chris H: “the Typhoon has a far more advanced sensor and self defence suite, its radar is far more capable in range, sensitivity, resolution and all round scope.”

            You’re turning this into a d-contest whereas is not. Typhoon and Rafale avionics and EW suites are about as equally capable, to the notable exception of sensor fusion which is actually sensor correlation on the Typhoon. Don’t turn yourself into a BAE PR brochure, you’re making yourself look silly, especially considering the Typhoon still sports a MSA radar.

            Typhoon is a superb QRA and air superiority fighter, there’s no doubt, it is acknowledged by French crews. A true drasgter, as they call it. But I’m sorry, even with Centurion, the Typhoon is not worth a dime in deep strike notably. Tip: what fuel capacity do you get with two Storm Shadow missiles under the wings? And with a laser designator under the belly?

            “And by the way BOTH were originally designed as QRA / Interceptors and upgraded in a hurry later in 2008.”

            Rafale was, hardware and layout-wise, designed as a true swing role from the start, and F2 then 3 software implementation took full advantage of that as it was introduced in the Air Force from 2006.

            On the other hand, Typhoon phase enhancements and Centurion are attempts to compensate the unoptimal payload layout and capability of the Typhoon, with limited effectiveness in the deep strike role (see hint above).

      • nEUROn and Taranis are clearly distinct project with distinct purposes. That’s why FCAS-DP is dead since UK favours an ISR oriented platform, unlike France who puts an emphasis on weapon delivery (nEUROn has a weapon bay).

        UK was not involved in nEUROn development, not France was in Taranis.

        Why are British people so salty on French aerospace developments?

        • Because they left the Typhoon program and are now preaching European solidarity, while aiming to muscle the UK out.

  5. I’ve just noticed the lack of movable control surfaces on the model and graphic. I wonder if the magma research will be in play here?

    • Well spotted! I was wondering if that would be applied but, and I know not a lot about this, wouldn’t that also mean it could get rid of the vertical stab?

      We really do seem to have top class equipment, if only we would fund to buy more of it!

      • Vertical stabilisers look small so indications are their would need to be some form of additional stabilising control to maintain high AoT. Thrust vectoring and/or blown air controls. On the Magma prototype their were small vert stabs, but the goal is to remove them. Perhaps as the research evolves the vert stabs will go.

        • I hope so for the sake of its stealth characteristics; vertical stabiliser alternatives look like they are going to be important in the future.

    • I be surprise if it wasn’t. There got to be a reason BAE have pursue this technology for well over a decade in various programs and drone prototypes. Not only should it lead to better stealth profile. It cut weight of the aircraft and should in theory allow far greater maneuverability.

      I also wondering if this could be a chance to incorporate Reaction Engine pre coolers into a jet engine, which should lead to pretty radical efficiency savings.

  6. Fascinating article. Thank you. Now we need to talk too the Swedes and Japanese. One point. It needs to be carrier capable. Not just for commonalities sake but for volumes sake. The more of anything you buy the lower the unit price. Unless we’re going to do the same as with helicopters. Chinook for RAF and Merlin for RN. Tempest for RAF and Lightning 2 for RN ?

    • The likely buyers do not have plans for carriers that could take this though… Plus it adds weight to the aircraft.

      • (Chris H) Swedes (SAAB) yes good choice if their neutrality policy allows but certainly not the Japanese. They are just extensions of US arms policy, manufacturing and purchase. Just go look at their inventory and read how close Mitsubishi and others are to Boeing. They were the only country outside the USA to buy the awful KC-46 tanker that Boeing was gifted over the A330MRTT. None delivered, none operational. years late and $ Mns over budget. But the Japs did as they were told and chose it against the choice of every other purchasing country the A330 MRTT

        • “They were the only country outside the USA to buy the awful KC-46 tanker that Boeing was gifted over the A330MRTT. None delivered, none operational. years late and $ Mns over budget. But the Japs did as they were told and chose it against the choice of every other purchasing country the A330 MRTT”

          Errr….no. The Japanese don’t operate the KC-46. They fly the KC-767, which is substantially different to KC-46. It uses the old KC-135 refuelling gear. It was in competition with the A310 MRTT not the A330 MRTT….
          The KC-767 was 2 years late, which in the grand scheme of things isn’t massive.

          • Cant really comment too much on the Japanese but I feel that they would very much in their heads like to separate more from the USA on equipment especially with Trumps behaviour of late, but of course with Big Daddy so close they are afraid to do so. But you just never know they should not be written off they just might like the idea of a degree of self efficiency especially in this very crucial area. And if this is more a pure fighter (i.e. Typhoon replacement) than the F35 is or is ever going to be, this might actually give them the opportunity to do just that as in effect there is no American alternative available or planned at present which could give them cover and they are already contemplating such an aircraft of their own. American pressure can never be ignored here of course especially in this particular theatre, but the American hand is never quite as strong as it looks as despite the rhetoric they really cannot afford to sell out either Japan or South Korea and Trump won’t be around for ever. And Australia though yes a little less on the front line has been perfectly able to break away from total American control of its defence decisions.

            Meanwhile displaying that very fact SK actually takes the total piss with the US in its civilian commercial interactions and gets away with it because of the very fact the US is scared to react because of its very frontline position and strategic partner so if Japan grows some balls it has a lot more freedom than it realises.

          • (Chris H) rudeboy – I am not in the habit of posting stuff without research. Now I am happy to be corrected so I went back and checked my sources. Which happened to be the Japanese Defence Ministry:
            “On 23 October 2015 the Japan Air Self-Defense Force selected the KC-46 as their new tanker with a contract for three aircraft expected in 2016. The decision allows for common operations and training with the USAF. Japan was attracted to its capability to refuel MV-22 Ospreys the JASDF will soon receive”

            I have relied on a translation from the Japanese transcript. Well 2016 has been and gone and they have no aircraft. A bit like the USAF they are emulating and so rely on

  7. Back in the early 2000s Lockheed Martin proposed a fighter bomber version of the F22 and it was called FB22. The proposal was ditched in 2006.

    From what I can see Tempest looks similar to the FB22 in layout.

  8. While I applaud the idea, it looks pretty ugly to me. Can’t see the point of spending huge sums on a navalised version as the potential customers are too few. Better to buy from the US to fill our carriers.

    Great ambition if we follow it through.

  9. Excellent news, I do wonder if sweden join the program. France and Germany have signed a deal to develop a fighter, behind the curve again.

    • How exactly is France and Germany behind the curve, since partners and leadership have already been indentified, and industrials (namely Dassault) have been working on early design studies since quite a long time now?

      Similarly, how is France behind the curve since it has arguably more autonomous combat aircraft development experience in the past couple of decades than UK who has been exclusively working as one of many partners in JSF and Eurofighter programmes?

      • The French lack expertise in several areas involving the development of a fifth generation aircraft.

        Those areas include stealth, software development, sensors, powerplant technology and so on.

        If they wish to develop such an aircraft it’s going to a long time and be very expensive, the UK on the other hand does have such expertise.

        • France has expertise, industrial actors and skills in all those quoted critical domains, part of which have been fielded to operational aircraft, with i.e. the Rafale, which is the sole European combat aircraft to feature full sensor fusion.

          Stealth developments are obviously more discrete and on a conceptual level, pretty much like UK’s. I’ll mention that Rafale’s airframe has been computer redesigned in the 90s to account for RCS reduction measures while not significantly altering the general design, between the demonstrator (Rafale A) and the prototype phase.

          There is no card held by UK for fifth generation aircraft development that isn’t by France.

          I’ll also add that the French-German partnerships allows a somewhat larger timeframe, and that UK remains alone in a project that is very ambitious at best, unmanageable alone at worst.

          • I disagree, France lacks key capabilities in many areas as I have already stated.

            Time and money will prevent France from developing a fifth generation aircraft.

          • The UK currently has a factory producing stealth aerostructures for a 5th gen aircraft already in service. It has also independently created a stealth UCAV more recently and the Replica project nearly 20 years ago.

            I personally hold the French aerospace industry in very high regard and Dassault is an inspiring company, but their experience in stealth is just not comparable.

        • And I didn’t mention naval aviation. Combat aircraft navalization is not a trivial task..!

          But I see you’re making the argument turn in circle. I can make unsupported assertions too.

          But let’s see how it comes out.

        • You, saying “as I said/as I have already stated”. (can’t reply to that specific comment).

          Stating is a thing, but the reality casts a different light. Sensors? Rafale is the only European combat aircraft to feature full sensor fusion and not mere correlation. Thales is a lead actor in sensor development and integration. Stealth? Rafale sports limited RCS reduction redesign (Typhoon featuring none), ONERA and Dassault keep performing fundamental research and experiments. Powerplant? SNECMA/Safran has it covered. Sofware development? Not sure what you mention here.

          Where UK holds cards, France does too, sometimes with better expertise, sometimes with less.

          • Then we just have to disagree then, not sure what your naval aviation comment is about as I did not mention it.

            If France wishes to develop a 5th generation aircraft it’s going many tens of billions of euros and around 20 years, I cannot see any progress to date apart from talk.

          • (Chris H) Marcus – I am not sure I agree with much of your comments for the same reasons Mike Saul noted so I will just pick up on one. You allege we have no 5th Gen credentials the French don’t have? Really?
            So who designed the whole rear end, empannages and much of the wing ends (we build all the folding ‘C’ type wing tips) of the F-35? Who designed the alternative F136 engine for the F-35? Which country was the only place the two F-35 airframes were tested to assess total operational life cycles? The UK. France has produced nothing anywhere near a 5th Gen fighter jet let alone operated them. Germany hasn’t either while we are operating them with a large proportion designed and built by us.

          • Also the f136 engine (competitor for the PW F135) was in development by Rolls and GE. Its was killed off a few years back but Rolls will have gained a lot of data and know how from the program.

          • “Rafale sports limited RCS reduction redesign (Typhoon featuring none)”

            Well thats odd…because every informed source seems to believe the Typhoon has a much smaller RCS than Rafale.

            “Powerplant? SNECMA/Safran has it covered.”

            Second tier engine manufacturer…

          • Rudeboy: funny, my sources say otherwise, and Rafale features typical RCS reduction measures that are yet to be found on Typhoon (canard/wing edge alignement, sawtooth panels, S-duct and fixed intake, plus the redesigned fuselage shape and curves). But let’s trust your Mk.1 RCS-eye-o-meter!

            Not even gonna comment on the “second tier” statement. Typical British bad faith and saltiness. That’s really a shame, you don’t honour your own country and its great aerospace industry.

        • Mike i am not sure on which project will be better whether the UK one or france German one as both have just begun but I can assure you that the rafale is much better than the typhoon. The Swiss military all the exercises where typhoon was defeated 7-1 and a complete assessment by the Indian air force over 630 parameters put the rafale as the winner. I feel that you are just underestimating France to much.

        • I am not sure about the upcoming projects of both the countries but I can with with confidence tell you that the rafale is a much better fighter than the typhoon. The Swiss military says that. The Indian military conducted an assessment of the both the jets and over 630 parameters and the rafale won the rafale has been more successful in operations conducted by NATO. The exercises show that rafale is better defeating typhoon 7-1. I think you are simply underestimating France to much.

        • I don’t no about the upcoming projects of both the countries but i can confidently say that raffle is a much better aircraft than typhoon. the Swiss military report proves that Indian military report proves that(they had conducted tests over 630 parameters). the air exersices prove that. typhoon lost 7-1 and many other cases. the raffle has also performed significantly better than the typhoon on nato operations. i think you are underestimating the french to much.

        • i don’t no about the upcoming projects of both the countries but i can confidently say that raffle is a much better aircraft than typhoon. the Swiss military report proves that Indian military report proves that(they had conducted tests over 630 parameters). the air exersices prove that. typhoon lost 7-1 and many other cases. the raffle has also performed significantly better than the typhoon on nato operations. i think you are underestimating the french to much.

        • i don’t no about the upcoming projects of both the countries but i can confidently say that raffle is a much better aircraft than typhoon. the Swiss military report proves that Indian military report proves that(they had conducted tests over 630 parameters). the air exersices prove that. typhoon lost 7-1 and many other cases. the raffle has also performed significantly better than the typhoon on nato operations. i think you are underestimating the french to much.

          • All I will comment on about the Rafale vs Typhoon debate (both very good aircraft) is that if the Rafale is so much better then why has the Typhoon outsold it nearly 627 to 276 and 9 to 4 air forces?

            And other questions – If France can fund all this on its own why did it cut back its Rafale orders from 286 to 180? Why did they not build two aircraft carriers? And why are they cutting back on A400M orders? Simple answer – They are skint and will be even more so after we leave the EU. They need German money but will screw it up by demanding full design lead, sole engine supply and majority workshare. Germany may lump it as it now has no other options but then again they might just say “Auf wiedersehen Frankreich”

          • (Chris H) Is it just me or has anyone else noted that 4 different profiles posted exactly the same comment 5 times within 10 minutes of each other? One repeated himself

            Ryan, Leon, radbrad and bob above … Can the site investigate?

      • I anticipate BEA systems were not included in the France Germany program because they were aware of the Tempest program and presumably did not want to get involved. Collaboration is in place where parts from Taranis will be combined with Dassault nEUROn future combat aircraft system. However the Replica program has been underway for sometime, photographs of the models being transported have been published. Also as been pointed out the consortium have vast experience with JSF F35, and Taranis. It will be interesting to see who may join, Sweden involvement as been raised in the press. Not aware of Japan, but it would make sense .Also there is BEA systems involvement in the Turkey design.

        • it looks like there elements of F35 front intakes leading to the radar dome with Taranis wings and rear. I anticipate Taranis flight system is involved if autonomous capabilities are available. Good points re Canada and Australia big BEA systems presence in both plus the remote woomera test range, sort of Edwards airbase with kangaroos. Given the type 26 agreement it may open other options and possibilities

      • Curious, don’t tell me the MSB agents have accidentally all posted the same post!

        Well, that’s four for the salt mines!

        I can’t understand the Typhoon/Rafael argument, both fine aircraft ….

        Sales is the only thing that really gauges success and Rafael falls way behind there.

        For those backing the Franco German cause, well good luck, fact is both countries have made extremely difficult and unrealiable partners in past European defence projects … so best of luck to you, you’re going to need it!

        If the Germans think the French will give them any significant technical input. … Think again.

        If the French think the Germans will pay … Guess what, think again!

        • i am really sorry Chris and everyone else. that was my little brother’s work copy pasting it again and again. since they don’t ask the account password he did it easily. i shall teach him a lesson. anyway i am no agent just a well wisher of Britain.

  10. Ive just watched a report on this on the news,the gist of the report was that while it is an ambitious and forward looking project it looks unaffordable and unrealistic looking into the future – the main point being finance.

    • The UK will not be going it alone, its pretty much guaranteed we will be working with Sweden and Japan, possibly Turkey and Canada if they want to get on board and if everyone can agree on requirements.

  11. The WW2 Hawker Tempest was a development of the same company’s Typhoon, so it is rather appropriate to call Typhoon’s proposed successor Tempest.

    • I didn’t think of that, nice spot. Nice to know whoever is in the naming department has a sense of history.

      • … and of course the Fury was the ultimate development of that line and in particular a substantial re-design of the Tempest to save weight and size and up performance, so it is clear that they are already thinking of what an updated ultimate version would be called.

        The original family went: Tornado/Typhoon- Tempest – Fury/SeaFury. Very neatly sorted.

        • Bagging “Tempest” for the name of this fighter is shrewd marketing, as it tells everyone that it is the natural successor to the existing Typhoon and not the proposed Franco-German fighter. Should make it an easier sell to those operating the Typhoon.

          As for partnerships, I’d choose countries who could manufacture and sell in their own region; eg Australia or Japan for Far East sales, etc.

          • Sean Yes, not sure if BEA systems own the names via Hawker, or the MOD owns the names. It makes sense Hurricane, Typhoon and Tempest. Tempest was something it took on the ME 262 and won, whilst the Fury took on Mig 15’s with get effect. The new tempest has a lot to live up to.

        • Yes the FAA became very good at fully developing others cast offs in the 1940’s. Necessity being the Mother of Invention and all that. The examples being the Corsair and the Fury both rejected respectively in some way by the USN and RAF.
          I do worry this is an RAF F22-like ‘fast boys toy’ project. Trying to mould Swedish and Japanese requirements could prove interesting. Trying to reduce the F35B buy to pay for it could prove a mistake. AI research is where I would be spending defence funds until we have this given the go ahead. Things may be very different in 10 years time.

  12. I mean, this is huge, when was the last time we built our own aircraft? We’ve been leaders for a century and built some of the most iconic and advanced aircraft but that ended with the harrier, after that it was all collaborative projects.

    Really liking this new defense strategy looking towards creating and exporting equipment. It’s honestly unusual foward thinking and long term planning that I never thought I would see from a British government.

    • People tend to forget that BAE systems and the British defence industry as a whole (Rolls Royce etc) played a huge part in the development of the F35. I am firmly in the belief that British defence industry can create a credible next gen aircraft by the 2030s especially if international partners with their highly credible defence industries are brought on board (Sweden and Saab, Japan and Mitsubishi etc).

      • Japan will never join, they’ve got their own next gen jet in the works. Sweden and Saab however are a very real possibility and I can definitely see them joining. Saab as far as I’m aware have no next gen jet in the works and this will give them a foot in and Sweden will get a next gen jet that I assume they will have a small hand in producing. Them not being a part of the EU also future proofs the project from the EU trying to interfere to harm British industry.

          • Godammit, I got confused between Sweden and Norway XD. Ah well, last point is mute but Sweden and Saab are still the best option.

          • Sweden look the best bet – and why would their membership of the EU get in the way of the project: any evidence that this has happened in the past?

            That siad, we will be competing with the US and France/Germany on this one.

            Is it a genuine project though? Even with Italy and Sweden it will be expensive and with GDP lower post-Brexit, harder to justify the expense?

            Will it be as good as the F22 and F35? Why don’t we just invest in mor eof the latter?

          • Christoffer, until recently BEA systems were in part ownership of Saab. I think links are still there on systems with gripen. The Italians are in the consortium, so I see no problem. As discussed earlier, if Germany did a u turn and joined I would not be surprised. I understand they are still debating whether to buy the F35 airforce prefer to replace the tornadoes or Eurofighter ( they don’t like the name Typhoon, understandably very bad vibes) the government prefer. Either way if the press rumours on their present Eurofighter serviceability is true they need to pull their fingers out, most unlike the perception of the professionalism of German armed forces.

  13. This will only go ahead and develop into an operational aircraft if we can fnd international partners. The UK cannot afford to do it by ourselves.

    It maintains our capability to design and develop modern combat aircraft and not much else for the time being.

    In much the same way EAP was the forerunner of Typhoon.

    Let’s not get to carried away.

    • Will finance really be an issue?

      We have decades before we need to replace Typhoon, does this not give us the time to phase design and development and build a fully considered and price optimised air system?

      Yes it will be 20bn or so in tomorrow’s money, but 20bn over 25 years seems affordable and a good investment in the technology sector and various, regional economies.

      That’s is NOT to say, I wouldn’t want 3rd party funding, design challenge and thinking but so long as we’re not chopping and changing this seems like useful economic stimulus to UK regions outside the typical South East bubble.

      • And what sort of production run would be required to make this aircraft a commercial success?

        Just imagine the ongoing costs of software development required.

        F35 will probably see a production run in excess of 4000.

        • Mike you are correct, this needs, Sweden, Canada, Australia to join Italy and the U.K. to get the numbers for economics of sale. Basically it is a sensible priced Raptor or needs to be

    • “This will only go ahead and develop into an operational aircraft if we can fnd international partners. The UK cannot afford to do it by ourselves.”

      There was a study not far back that found that the UK could have developed Typhoon for less on its own than its share of the costs for the joint development. So much time and money was lost in duplication (and delay due to Germany) that it would have been cheaper and quicker to have done it on our own. All of the main components were UK designed anyway…

      • I can’t answer that but can only add that during typhoons development and in particular Germany’s antics it was if we remember extensively reported that the costs soared and each aircraft despite the changes to reduce those costs and get Germany back on board eventually the project costs (and remember that includes a wide area of things not directly related to the aircraft itself) were far greater as a result. Cant say if those reports were correct after all we know how defence news is manipulated by the media but it was a pretty logical conclusion that had little alternative argument from what I remember just anger with the Germans. Lets hope they do the same to the French.

  14. OK, I admit I was short sighted in a comment I posted on another article yesterday. This is very exciting and positive news. I’m really happy to see the UK getting back into the high-end fighter game with such a leadership role and with such a great lineup of companies in the team. Full steam ahead I hope but, without taking anything away from this, I do hope we might see a similar initiative to create one or more world-beating British medium-sized drones as well.

  15. Wonderful news! Britain has never lacked the ability to build world class aircraft-what he have lacked is confidence in our abilities and more aggressive and up to the minute marketing skills. Also best to forget about Carrier capability-the F35B should be more than adequate to the RN’s needs for decades to come plus the cost f retrofitting Cats and Traps would be hugely expensive and take the QE’s out of service for a long period

  16. My esteem for Gavin Williamson grows further. Really impressive turnaround in mindset and motivation between the MoD of Williamson and Fallon

  17. Great news, they kept the mock up under tight wraps!

    I would imagine the design was shared with SAAB in last week’s meeting as the basis of a new fighter.

    I wouldn’t go thinking carrier variant based on the twin nose wheel. A bit like Tornado, it simply showes an aircraft capable of austere runway use and high combat weights at a high rate of descent.

    Such a feature would be a critical requirement for Sweden for instance.

    If we move forward with a technology demonstrater based on Tempest, ( hopefully with SAAB) and prove its a capable machine, then there is a real opportunity to develop an operational aircraft, bringing in Japan, South Korea and perhaps Canada as fellow development partners and countries like Saudi Arabia as investors….

    A real and exciting possibility exists here guys, let’s all hope it happens!

    The real threat to this aircraft is the US, who might possibly try to dangle a future F35 variant at a subsidied price, purely to collapse the future Tempest project.

    If Tempest gathers momentum, they will see this as a serious threat, without doubt…

    • Good point about the Americans! Based on what has gone before, any perceived threat to their marketplace for US aircraft will result in bargain basement deals to kill off Tempest; much in the same way as they offered a knockdown price on the F111 to kill off TRSR2 in the early ’60’s,

    • (Chris H) John Clark – we must stop floating this idea that we should partner with Japan and South Korea. We owe them nothing, they have contributed nothing to us (in military and aerospace terms) and they are both basically manufacturing and buying arms of the US arms industry. Do you realise how close Mitsubishi and Boeing are?

      Now unless we have a formal partner agreement (where the UK leads) with the USA and we earn hard cash out of it from the USA then we should steer well clear. Bleed through is, as I have mentioned, a real possibility of anything shared with Japan to the the USA. These people are not our friends even if they are nominal allies.

      Certainly involve Canada as they are one of our closest and real friends and we already have a shared aerospace interest in what was Bombardier CJ now the Airbus 220. As long as we avoid any Airbus involvement in Canada they could be a really positive partner and this could help restore combat jet manufacture in Canada – one of their declared ambitions. It will need a stopgap Typhoon deal though as their CF-18s are now very near end of life.

      You are also right in that their is a danger the USA, rather than come in as a positive partner, will see this as a threat (in Trump terms) to their ‘National Security’ and try and hobble it as they actively did with TSR-2. But they also need a lower cost replacement bomb truck for their F-15 and F-18 aircraft in this timeframe

      Interesting times but well done the UK Governemnt

      • I agree with Chris here. People bang on about the Japanese so much but they are almost an extension of the US, who will undoubtedly be looking at making their own 6th generation fighter for the likes of Japan and South Korea.

      • And EE Lightning vs F104. Ugh. I remember too going to a talk by Barnes Wallis who said the F111 would be a failure because it needed a tail fin.

  18. I love the name ‘Tempest’ and the original Hawker Tempest started out life as the “Typhoon Mark II”
    Now I’ve waiting for somebody to reuse the ‘Mosquito’ name. Walks away humming the tune of 633 sqn.

  19. (Chris H) I must confess this is all I had hoped for (and expressed here possibly too many times) and especially the idea of evolution of what we already have to the next level in stages reducing overall costs

    I called it ‘Typhoon II’ not ‘Tempest’ – My bad ..!

    I see Airbus are now sniffing round for a piece of the UK fighter action with this:
    “Airbus welcomes the UK’s commitment of funding for the future fighter project. We look forward to continuing collaborative discussions with all relevant European players.”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44848294

    Having threatened UK jobs barely 2 weeks ago they should be politely told to go forth and multiply especially given their involvement with Dassault on ‘Rafale II’. Bleed through of sensitive data to the French is a very real risk and must at all costs be avoided. We have already been suckered (again) by the French with Taranis and MAGMA.

    i am really pleased the other Typhoon partner Leonardo has been brought in as they were also shafted by the Airbus / Dassault deal. They and BAE own 54% of Eurofighter between them and both deserved better. We should also now stop development of the EJ200 engine and start fitting Ej2300 (or whatever the upgraded engine is) at major maintenance events on RAF and Italian Typhoons.

    Looks like SAAB didn’t get very far after all which is a shame and I do wonder if their formal military neutrality was a bridge too far for the UK Government.

    Final thoughts:
    * Definitely no F-35A for the RAF – and possibly all ‘B’ aircraft eventually go to FAA. What price we won’t now be buying 138 F-35s ..??
    * Is this great idea just a bit too late for the Canada contract or can a stopgap deal be put together with Typhoons until its ready? Workshare being a real attraction for the Canadians
    * Long odds maybe but given the USA is now 100% into the F-35 for its 5th Gen aircraft will this be a suitable replacement (to be built in the USA of course) for the F-15 / F-18 types given they will still need a bomb truck to be deployed like we are going to use Typhoon with the F-35? The F-35 has many great attributes but delivering large weapon payloads isn’t one of them. It can be the suppressing. targeting and surveillance asset and protect itself but little else

    • Rumour is that Remainer elements ‘asked’ Airbus to put out a Press release regarding pulling out of UK.

      • (Chris H) 4thwatch – Brexit has been reduced to being The Establishment vs The People and sadly the people are losing the battle. Every hour on the hour the BBC, Sky News and most of the written media are now saying we WILL have a 2nd referendum. When in fact of course it would be a third. I took part in the first in 1975! Maybe we should make it ‘best of 3 since 2016’ .. like a cricket one day series …

        I am sure FIFA will allow us a second go at playing Croatia ….

  20. US will be selling F-35s, Russians will make a degraded export version of Su-57, Chinese will sell J-31 and maybe a J-20 in future. Not beginning full development at the end of 90s of a genuine gen-5 was downright criminal. Yes Typhoon sold well to Arabs, but game is moving on. They been cutting defence budget for 2 decades. And now huge money for a gen-5? I doubt they have funds to design, develop, complete, induct, produce and operate a gen-5. They are INSANELY late to the gen-5 party.

  21. Hi Chris, with respect I disagree, we will need advanced technological and financially solvent countries to take part in this to stand any chance of getting wind under the Tempest’s wings.
    That has to be Japan or South Korea in my opinion…

    Anyway, what can we tell from the images…

    Medium fighter
    Single seat
    All round Stealth features
    composite material construction
    Empty weight 30,000lb ish
    Twin engines in the 20,000 lb class
    Low wing loading and a slight lifting body shape.
    Paddle thrust vectoring perhaps?
    Single large weapons bay?
    Rough field capability.

    • (Chris H) john Clark – And you really think Japan would buy a non-US fighter? They haven’t bough one since WWII. And if that doubtful scenario came about they would demand they build it themselves. But you seem unworried by the potential loss of advanced technical data funded by British taxpayers bleeding through the Japanese to the Americans?

      i stand by my view that we should keep a million miles from Japan, France, Germany and South Korea

      • Well Chris, things change. We live in very interesting times and Mr Trump is making the US an increasingly isolationist and difficult customer to deal with.

        Don’t be blinded by past certainty, the rules are changing very fast and with them new opportunities might well arise.

        The UK has had a number of very interesting high level meetings with the Japanese on defence matters.

        One thing’s for sure, we will need technologically advanced and crucially financially solvent countries.

        Both the South Koreans and Japanese have both assets in abundance.

        Gulf State investment will only push the program so far, as will Swedish involvement.

        For the sake of argument, let’s go by the old rule of thumb and say a minimum order will be circa 400 aircraft to get production underway, if we sell to traditional Gulf client states, Canada and let’s say Sweden, we can make that number, but we can’t generate the funds to get to that point unfortunately without help..

        I stand by saying that without at least two A team players, (who can contribute to and order in quntity) Tempest will remain a fact plastic model.

        It doesn’t matter how you deal the deck of cards, serious investment will be needed.

  22. What is the oddest name given to RAF aircraft?

    Hamble Baby is my favourite built by Fairey

    And with regard the RN ships, HMS Quorn

  23. Just like Boeing vs Bombardier, Lockheed and Boeing could very well pressure Washington DC to squash this program. It would be a good idea to get one of them on board as a partner.

    I’m guessing the Tempest is an Interceptor / Air Superiority Fighter, so more competition with the F22 (can’t be exported) rather than the First Strike / Ground Attack F35.

    I would imagine there are a few pacifistic countries (Europe) who would rather have a defensive (Tempest) fighter than an offensive (F35) one.

  24. Quorn is not such a daft name, Mike. It is actually named after a Midlands pack of foxhounds, not some veggie meat substitute! And the first HMS Quorn was a batch 1 Hunt class destroyer, it was a war loss in WW2, but I can’t tell you the exact circumstances.
    It is interesting to read the comments about whether the Tempest might be carrier capable. Even if it is intended to be from the outset it won’t be in service for another 20 or so years, so in the mean time the Navy/RAF need to get the F35 integrated and sufficient numbers available. I hope that we might hear from the current review when the next batches will be ordered. And if you want to start a conspiracy theory, I commend you to the current edition of Flight International. On page 89 there is a picture of an F35 and a Tornado, and the caption reads ” the Tornado will retire next year, as replacement F35 advances towards operational status” There is an interesting thought, no aircraft for the carriers because they are committed elsewhere?

  25. forgot to say, it also appears to have fixed inlet design, so its safe to say sub Mach 2.

    The EJ200 will be perfect for the technology demonstrator, perhaps a reworked and updated EJ200 could form the basis of the production Tempests power plant.

    It would certainly help to de risk and keep costs down.

  26. Fingers crossed we see a quick step up in the performance capability of Typhoon and in increased numbers, complimented by Taranis before the introduction of Tempest.

    Thrust vectoring was around in 2010 so the introduction of the EJ230 should be the perfect fit across all tranches.

    Here is an interesting link. Not too far off the latest Tempest in design!
    https://theaviationist.com/2014/02/25/mysterious-bae-replica/

    • My cynicism seems justified. The £2bn is to be provided by 2025. There is more chance of Pinewood Studios producing a flying X-wing Star Wars fighter than there is of the UK plc producing this.

        • (Chris H) And you two people think we should take your comments seriously? You write like the idiots in Corbyn’s Momentum Keytappers Club sort of forgetting this initiative started in the 2015 SDSR when Cameron was PM …

          • 2 billion over 10 years (200m a year) is not going to produce an aircraft. The only two people pretending that are May & Williamson.

            Even the RAF guys at the event say this is just to develop some technologies, not an aircraft. But to listen to Wlliamson, you’d think it was ready to fly tomorrow.

          • 2 billion over 10 years will develop R&D though. It may well be the case that the UK is setting out its stall to attract “other” investors as stated already. 2 billion is a substantial investment when looked at from outside:
            The UK is stumping up a large sum to get this off the ground, let’s look at it.
            The UK has a pretty good knowledge of what needs to go into a 6th Gen fighter from F-35 and Typhoon dev, let’s look at it.

            It only improves the chances. As far as Williamson’s words… he is being positive in the extreme, to attract partners you have to sell the idea, he’s in a position to be one of the top salespeople for the UK Defence Industry, long may he gush.

        • Steve

          You clearly are not aware that the 2 billion over 10 years also has to cover Typhoon upgrades such as 15% more powerful engines, cockpit upgrades, improved connectivity, and lower RCS.

          So after taking out the Typhoon specific stuff, how much of the 200m a year is going toward building a new fighter?

          • (Chris H) Ron5 – The upgrades to which you refer would all be part of the initial development of the new fighter. That is the whole point – We can prove that a system / idea / upgrade works on Typhoon and migrate across. There is nothing for Tempest even now that we don’t already have to make the Tempest work:
            * EJ200 engines upgraded already
            * Vectored thrust already developed on EJ200 (and used on F-35B)
            * Advanced avionics already designed and written by BAE for the F-35
            * Advanced Radar already commissioned on Typhoon (CAPTOR-E is from SELEX Galileo, a Finmeccanica Company of Italy)
            * Wing form already known from Typhoon, Taranis and MAGMA
            * Tail empennages designed by BAE for the F-35
            * Upgraded weapon systems already integrated on Typhoon
            * Advanced helmet system already on Typhoon and BAE offered an alternative on F-35

            Its all already here right now.

            My only concern is we will lose total weapon load capability to establish ‘Stealth’ and lose the massive impact Typhoon delivers when launched with the F-35 suppression and targeting capabilities. If this is to replace Typhoon we must maintain weapon capability

  27. Is this anything to do with BAE’s recent announcement of their intentions to develop a fighter aircraft with Sweden and Turkey?

  28. I heard it can be flown unmanned, is there truth to this?
    Also, what does this mean for the future of Taranis/nEUROn?

  29. Its good that they put “affordable” and “capable “on the poster, I’m also glad they put one of those diagrams with dotted lines going to tanks, satellites and other aircraft.
    Sceptical TBH, I just don’t see us footing the bill when costs start to be counted in how many NHS hospitals it is.
    It might keep us at the table with the septics through, when they decide they have to do something about F22 numbers and F35 limitations, assuming they don’t descend into autocracy and line up behind the Russians

    • You can get a cracking 400 bed acute hospital for 200million, unless you PFI it then you will be paying out the nose for a couple of decades…….

    • The fact that every time that military spending comes up people count how many ‘NHS hospitals’ that could be built with the funding does my head in to no end.

      We in this country have serious mental issues when it comes to the NHS. It’s turned into an almost cult like entity, where no criticism can be tolerated. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic institution, with an incredible workforce, loved by all, even critics like me, but here are some dire facts.

      In a country with a population of near 70 million, a tiny percentage of the world population, the NHS is the 5th biggest employer on the ENTIRE PLANET. This is ahead of organisations like the Indian army who serve and protect a nation of nearly 1.3 billion people.

      It has a budget of £140 Billion, a number that will jump to £160 billion with the pledge made by a May, a number that will eclipse even the PENSIONS budet.

      And yet despite this, despite having a colossal workforce and a budget bigger than a lot of countries entire GDP, we get told year after year that they don’t have enough people or money.

      I’m sorry, but F**K THAT. The NHS is either soon going to be wrapped in the largest scandal in world history when we find out where they money is going, or they have serious issues and desperately need reform which will never happen because if you even mention this you will be ostracised because you apparently want to privatise the NHS.

      Pouring more money into that black hole is not going to fix the issues they apparently have.

      • It’s not just the NHS that has serious issues, it’s health care in the modern world. The UK’s health spending per capita is actually lower, we spend less as a percentage of GDP and we have fewer doctors per 1,000 people than many other countries (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_system#International_comparisons).

        There are fundamental forces at work in healthcare economics that are in danger of forming an almost perfect storm. Most people know about the changing demographics and how that means more strain on health care systems for general old age stuff (falls, arthritis, at-home or in-home care etc) and also more incidence of serious and expensive-to-treat conditions that tend to emerge in old age e.g strokes, heart conditions and various cancers. To make things worse modern treatments are becoming ever more expensive for instance genetically targeted drugs, while held up as the bright future, have serious financial issues because they are still very expensive for the pharma companies to develop and yet, by their very nature, have a narrower target market which drives cost per treatment up significantly. There are other issues at play too.

        In fact the UK/NHS is being quite hard-headed about trying to address costs and is often vilified in the press for doing so, I’m thinking in particular of NICE’s work on drug affordability which does look very brutal and is what tends to lead to all those ” denied access to life saving drug” headlines. There’s the old saying that you can’t put a cost on human life, well NICE actually do – or more precisely what one year of someone’s quality-adjusted life is worth (it’s £30,000 per year of uncompromised-quality life in case you’re wondering).

        I know that you might take my post as proving your point about this countries attitude to criticisms of the NHS, and I acknowledge that you did give it significant praise in your second paragraph, but I would caution you about being too assertive in your criticisms without studying some of the issues and stats in much more detail or you are in danger of sounding a bit too close to people who comment on defence articles about carriers “with no planes”, that are “obsolete already and sitting ducks” or that “almost sunk on the sea trials” (as three random examples). Having said all that, I agree that serious work needs to be done to increase efficiency, for instance p***ing away all that money on the failed unified NHS IT system that never worked or got into service and cost billions was unforgivable and the NHS is a huge organisation and I’m not sure it always exploits it’s potential for economies of scale as much as it could, etc, etc.

        Disclaimer – my knowledge is not first hand but a good half of my oldest and closest friends and some of my family are either medics or pharmacologists working in the industry so I’ve spend the last 30 years or so listening to an awful lot of pub, party and dinner table discussions about all these issues and, as I do with defence, asking lots of questions and trying to learn about the subject area.

      • (Chris H) Lewis – You Sir are both very brave for calling out the hypocrisy we have to endure over the sanctity of ‘our NHS’ but more importantly totally correct in your analogy and descriptions. Normally a large organisation combines its buying power to bear down on supplier costs. Not the NHS. Each Trust defends it independence and while one Trust will buy toilet rolls for one price another will pay 3 times the amount. Crutches, walking aids and other perfectly re-usable pieces of equipment are just issued and lost forever. When did anyone sign for and guarantee its return? Never

        Well done Sir.

        • Yes but the NHS actually screws down the cost by contract managing each trust, I’m not a fan of the internal market as it has impacted on integration and strategic planning, but if your main aim is screwing down on in year costs it works…..

      • Agreed Lewis, it is an amazing organisation, I have been by a friend’s side very recently who went through the most invasive and torcherous throat cancer treatment. The care he received by all the staff involved was absolutely first rate, awesome team of people….

        Unfortunately, the monolithic organisation the NHS is also waistes enoumous sums of money, and absolutely refuses any serious efforts at reform.

        If you dare to suggest reform ( it’s not a dirty word) is needed, you get called all sorts of names …

        A GP shooting friend of mine tells me about the waist that goes on in the practice he works in, it’s an eye opener, yet this is just a microcosm of the NHS.

        If you ran a private business like his work place, you would be in trouble in a week and bust in 3 months flat.

        Yet the NHS budget is reaching the point of becoming unaffordable without reform.

        Labour and the powerful Unions just scream for more money, but money without root and branch reform is waisted.

        Other government departments are the same, look at Education, powerful Unions protecting their own interests …. Ever tried sacking an incompetent teacher? Good luck with that, the teaching unions will back them to the hilt, no matter how useless they are!

        It’s easier to simply let their contact expire. To anyone running their own business looking in, it just seems incredible the system works at all, it’s so badly run.

        While we are on the subject, can anyone tell me the last time either of the main teaching unions went on strike or threatened industrial action over anything other than their pay or retirement packages?

        Have they ever gone on strike regarding the state of the schools, or lack of equipment for the kids?

        Anyone?

        Sort of tells you where the Unions priority is doesn’t it…

      • Really sorry mate, the NHS funded less per head of population that almost all other western healthcare system, only Auz and NZ have the same level of spend, the US spends about £5000 per person per year more than we do, Germany and France ect spend around 1-2 thousand pounds per person per year than the NHS.

        The NHS is not the Best Health system in the world for outcomes ( but it’s up there) but it is the most equitable ( by a long way) and swaps between the most or second most cost effective western system ( mainly due to very effective wage control, a focus on primary care and free access) . Actually look up the international comparators on health costs before going off on one.

        It’s only a black hole in that we are getting better and better at keep you and your loved ones alive for longer and that is a simple truth if you want a chance to live well into your 80s or 90s pay up and stop pissing and whinging, or just die in your sixties.

  30. Looks very much like a “this is our wedge, who’s throwing in” bid. I like the leadership on this, putting the two billion and tec partners out there shows some balls, hopefully we will get some good nibbles from credible partners.

    The US is not partnering anyone or undertaking any big military development under the present administration.

    France and Germany are going to cut us our on political grounds (which is fine in my mind).

    Not sure we want to play with Canada as there politicans are not very reliable in regards to defence.

    For me Saab is the partner of choice as we have history of working well with them and they have a good history of building exportable fighters. Turkey would be a good partner to give an instant market to the produce but we would be giving away tec to a country heading away from western liberal democracies and towards Russia and China, so short term gain for longer term security risk in my mind.

  31. The potential problem with collaborating with Sweden is that they are more cost conscious than we are. Saab aircraft have some of the lowest costs per hour of any 4th generation model. Contrast this to F35 which has some of the highest. This is not a criticism of F35, but it may be that the Swedes sacrifice some functionality in pursuit of lower costs and it might be difficult to reach a design consensus on that basis.

    • That may be a good discipline for us, better to get the numbers we need than half the numbers with bells on.

  32. Fantastic PR move. But there’s only one hitch. The UK has neither the means nor the will to fund this program. And if it thinks that private companies will do so, then they need a reality check.

  33. Qaher 313 copy, the Iranians built their model years ago, are flight testing it and apparently it’s just about to enter sevice. Just imagine how much they will have achieved by the time the Tempest is developed and at a tiny fraction of the cost .

  34. Firstly I would still choose a fleet of Grippens. They do the job, they are cheap, operate on 800m long roads, take little maintenance, can be carried underslung by a Chinook and carry just about any weapon available.

    Secondly, the Meteor missile weighs 200kg, goes 100km at Mach 4 with a no escape kill zone of 60km. It costs £200m. Compared to Sidewinder of 30 years ago it is lightyears ahead. In 30 years time when Tempest starts flying the newest version of Meteor will be so good that Tempest won’t stand a chance.

    So why have it? Why not have a fleet of cheap Grippens with amazing missiles instead of a tiny fleet and no money left? We will have to sell Tempest to everybody to pay for it like we have done with the F35 and then we will have to spend another Earth paying for a better one to keep ahead. It’s all about jobs really isn’t it?

      • I agree Tim

        Stealth in its current form is over rated – radar and air defences will soon catch up

        The way to go is situational capability from distance and volumes and the Gripen is perfect for this.

        It also has a high UK content and I am sure we could work with the swedes to improve further.

        At £50m each they are a bargain and we can afford top quality missiles

        Personally I think F35 controlling 2-4 Taranis is really the way to go..

        • The Gripen is still a 4th gen aircraft design with a relatively low RCS due to its size. It is to small to be considered a bomb truck like the Typhoon. It would not do very well if put against an F35. For instance the F35 when using its optical sensors and the radar in the passive mode will be virtually unidentifiable. Therefore if the Gripen goes loud with its radar it will quickly be discovered and probably out of range. The F35 will have the option of engaging or just moving on.
          The Typhoon will always have a better radar performance than either the Grippen or the Rafale and it’s all own to antenna gain. This is due to the diameter of the antenna the larger the better. Take a look at the three and you’ll see the Typhoon is nearly twice that of the Gripen. It would require a complete redesign to house a larger antenna.
          The UK defence industry have a long history of developing both radar and stealth technology., especially Radar absorbant coatings and materials. A lot of this was put into the F35 program such as the conductive jointing compound and the tiles inside the intakes.
          The Tempest should only be viewed as a development model and not an actual aircraft. There are a number of key areas which highlight this such as the flat engine sides, fixed exhaust outlets, straight intakes and twin fins to name a few. The cranked delta has been used before on the F16XL. The wing is a very good shape for supersonic manoeuvring and high speeds with lower drag compared to a diamond shaped wing like the F22.
          The tie in with Leonardo is not unexpected after the way they have been treated by France and the EU in general.
          Can’t wait to see if they do develop this into a flying prototype EAP style, lots to gain.

        • I’m not sure it’s that overrated. With S-500 (much vaunted but optimised for missile defence btw) having an admittedly guessed low observable detection range of potentially <30km, that leaves a pretty small bubble for an aircraft to avoid, or require a lot of units to deny an area.

  35. Sorry Tim but I must disagree. As good as the Gripen is it’s still a 4th gen aircraft with a high by F35 standards RCS. This means that to get a good hit on the a F35 you either have to be relatively close or rely on a third party designator. Here in lies the rub, if we look at the F35 operating in a purely passive mode using just its optical sensors and using the radar for ESM. The F35 will have a clear picture of what’s around it but be virtually undetectable. Therefore if a Gripen or another asset goes loud with its radar it will be quickly detected whilst the F35 will probably be out of range. Allowing the F35 to either engage or move on. Further to give the Gripen the radar required to detect the F35 at a decent range would require a much larger antenna than currently fitted. The Gripen would then require a much larger front fuselage compromising its smaller size and weight. For a comparison take a look at the diameter of the Typhoon’s nose to the Gripen’s. The Typhoon is about twice the Gripen’s which is purely dictated by the size of the Captor’s antenna. The Captor-e plannar array will be about the same diameter as the previous version to maximise antenna gain.
    This is why so many countries are trying to emulate the F35 or steal its secrets via espionage (China). The UK has had a very long tradition of designing both radar and aircraft. It has been a key developer and manufacturer of stealth coatings. This is one of the reasons we’re a tier 1 partner in the F35 program.
    I don’t believe France or Germany are as advanced in stealth technology as the UK. The BAE Replica was a full size development model to put into practice the theory. The results of which can clearly be seen in the design of the Tempest model and Turkey’s TFX. However, I have my doubts over the viability of the Tempest design especially when it’s using twin fins, straight engine inlets and no variable 3D exhausts. But both designs do show what could be achieved. I do believe we have a better chance teaming up with Italy than Sweden, the reason for this is that there has been a lot of political pressure placed on Leonardo to tow the EU (France/Germany) party line over defence manufacturing. It’s recent disagreement with France over the ship building program is pushing Italy further from the fold and more likely to see them sticking two fingers up to the Franco/German effort.
    I do see us building an EAP type of development aircraft with perhaps a joint Rolls Royce/Reaction Engines power plant.

  36. An interesting point which was made by Chris H was,

    “My only concern is we will lose total weapon load capability to establish ‘Stealth’ and lose the massive impact Typhoon delivers when launched with the F-35 suppression and targeting capabilities. If this is to replace Typhoon we must maintain weapon capability”

    Would it be feasible to keep the same design characteristics as Tempest, but create a second scaled up airframe to house an increased internal payload?

    Food for thought at least!

  37. And with four engines instead of two, it would make it the ideal platform for long range bombing missions, especially over water, with the capability of supplying sufficient power for two 50W direct energy lasers as well as all current and future missiles systems currently under development.

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