Tempest will deliver game-changing technologies and capabilities that are affordable, flexible, upgradeable, connected and cooperative, whilst ensuring the Royal Air Force retains Operational Advantage and Freedom of Action.
The future combat air environment will be increasingly complex, with rapid technological advancements in sensing, data management, connectivity and autonomy.
We believe air forces of the future will no longer be able to rely on traditional platforms alone. Instead, a connected systems of systems – across the Air domain but also including the Land, Sea, Cyber and Space, domains - will be vital to adapting to this fast-changing environment.
We are working on development of what this future combat air system, with a future combat aircraft at its core, will need to look like in the 2030s, 2040s and beyond. This is why we talk about the development of a whole ‘system’ rather than a ‘platform’ or ‘aircraft’.
Ensuring we deliver a capability able to exploit and stay ahead of evolving threats is our central aim and is guiding our industrial investment, know-how, expertise and technology development activities across our current and future combat air systems.
Technology developments on Tempest are focused on delivering a flexible and upgradeable system; exploiting leading technologies to ensure our customers stay ahead of evolving threats, while delivering an advanced and cost-effective solution.
Through our work with Team Tempest and as part of the Future Combat Air System Technology Initiative we are looking at the technologies that will make this possible – from reconfigurable communications systems and virtual cockpits to flexible payload configurations and next generation flight control systems.
We are investing in cutting-edge UK technology across key technology themes, including:
- Augmented human performance
- Artificial intelligence and autonomy
- Cyber technologies and intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance
- Space and hypersonic technologies
- Analytics and computing.
Freedom of Action
Effective sovereign Combat Air capability depends on a nation's ability to use and adapt its assets independently - in defence terms, maintaining Operational Advantage and Freedom of Action.
An international collaborative future combat air system, led by the UK, will provide that freedom of action, allowing the UK independent control to operate and evolve its own capability, protecting critical skills and meeting national need.
Typhoon to Tempest
Many of the innovations we and our partners are developing for Tempest – for the system, its manufacture, support and maintenance – will be added to Eurofighter Typhoon in the first instance. This integrated technology path ensures maximum return and military benefit. It means that Eurofighter Typhoon customers will continue to benefit from the very latest capabilities, and ensures that Tempest and Typhoon will be interoperable collaborators in the future battlespace.
BAE Systems technologists have been working on a future cockpit concept based on Augmented and Virtual Reality. At the heart of this ‘wearable cockpit’ is the adaptability of a next generation helmet-mounted display, which is used to project AR and VR interactive cockpit displays and controls directly in front of the pilots eyes, replacing the current physical layouts in today’s cockpits.
Ground based trials to demonstrate the release of a full-sized store from an aircraft payload bay have successfully taken place.