According to British press, the 6th generation fighter Tempest will make its first flights in 2040, replacing the Eurofighter Typhoon series of the Royal Air Force
The images and videos have shown the first look at this new sixth-generation fighter. The latest technologies will be integrated between manned and unmanned aircraft, carrying weapons and sensors, interconnected by a complex data network.
Team Tempest includes a laundry list of defense contractors who are currently working on facets of the forthcoming aircraft, and they’ve made some lofy claims about what this new fighter will be able to do. Industry partners involved in the program include BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Leonardo, and MBDA.
Richard Dewar, head of Next Generation Technologies at BAE Systems, said the Tempest is a series of concepts, rather than a specific design or aircraft. It is understood the pilots may fly a central aircraft, flanked by smaller, less costly, less capable planes known at this stage as Lightweight Affordable Novel Combat Aircraft, which could act as decoys.
The Tempest designs are examining the use of a software reconfigurable wearable cockpit, employing the use of a hi-tech ‘Striker II’ helmet – without a single physical dial or screen in the cockpit. The headgear allows the pilot to see the outside world, and displays information in a virtual 3D landscape overlay of the outside seen through the visor, as well as physical objects which appear in reality.
In the interest of brevity, some anticipated capabilities include the use of artificial intelligence to assist the pilot, the ability to manage drones in support of the fighter, and all the advancements that came along in the 5th generation, including stealth and data fusion.
This system will leverage massive amounts of computing power to collect and process a claimed 10,000 times the data of existing radar systems. As Leonardo puts it, the Tempest will be able to gather and process the “equivalent to the internet traffic of a large city every second,” offering its pilot a positively unmatched degree of situational awareness.
Tempest also demonstrates its power in the high-tech weapons it can carry including: directed energy weapons, hypersonic weapons, depending on tactics. Recently, the UK has developed a jet engine that allows aircraft to operate at supersonic speeds. Defense News reported that the British Ministry of Defense is also pursuing a program to develop domestic hypersonic weapons.
The British project Tempest was started in 2018. Construction of the fighter is expected to be completed by 2035. The cost of the project is estimated at 2 billion pounds, or 2.54 billion dollars.