UK's $348M Tempest Next-Gen Fighter Will Be Nothing Like Other Combat Aircraft

Tempest is more than just a next-generation aircraft, it’s a connected system designed to respond to future combat environment challenges. UK’s Ministry of Defense has just made a huge step towards bringing Tempest to life, by awarding BAE Systems a contract that officially kicks off this groundbreaking project.
Tempest is set to be a connected, highly-advanced combat aircraft. 9 photos
Photo: Bae Systems
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With the U.S. advancing the development of its next-gen bomber, the B-21, and Russia recently unveiling its newest stealth fighter Checkmate, the UK wasn’t about to stay behind in the game. In fact, it’s been at it for a while now, with the announcement of its Combat Air Strategy, back in 2018. It was then when Team Tempest was established. Talk about a power team – some of the major industry players are part of it, including BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Leonardo and MBDA.

We’ve heard of innovative military programs, but Tempest really is in a league of its own. According to BAE Systems, relying solely on combat platforms when it comes to building an air defense strategy is a thing of the past. Even the most advanced aircraft needs to be connected across all domains, including land, sea, cyber and space, in order to face the complex challenges of future combat environments.

A highly-performant aircraft will still be at the heart of this new vision, but it will be one that uses information as the ultimate weapon, acting as a “central commander” in a system that exchanges large amounts of data with incredible speed and precision. Connectivity, autonomy, highly-advanced ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) sensors, plus space and hypersonic technologies are just some of the elements that will make Tempest a game-changer.

This £250 million ($348 million) contract is getting Team Tempest started on developing an entire range of digital concepts that will become the pillars of the future air combat system. A groundbreaking project demands a new design and production approach, so the Team is ready to pioneer technologies centered around AI, machine learning and autonomous systems.

Digital twin technology has already started being implemented at the BAE Systems facility in Warton, Lancashire, where the Factory of the Future, which they call “the first of its kind”, is set up to develop the future aircraft.

UK’s game-changing combat aircraft is set to enter service by 2035. Until then, some of the innovations that are being developed now will first be implemented on the current-gen Typhoon.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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