FighterJock

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Foo Fighter

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Combination would be fine but experience shows the different partners can jump ship or continually alter their requirements/ Just as in one nation projects, multi nation projects should be protected from government change etc. Nice idea but the most I expect to see is going to be system, sensor and weapons classes as the best hope for actual results.
 

Hood

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Sadly I doubt that the historians of 2061 will have the same access to the early files surrounding FCAS/SCAF/Tempest as we have for TCA/ECF/EFA between 1976-1986. Reading back to those early years its clear how much political and industrial pressures fluctuated and how alliances shifted within those early years before firm decisions were made.
Beginning as a solid UK-German pairing "keep out the French"; then going to a more tri-national approach "keep out the Italians for now", then when it became clear that the Germans didn't like paying out hard cash it reverted to UK-France, then reverted leaning more towards to UK-Germany as Dassault began to make a fuss in 1979 and then as we know finally Dassault threw their toys out the pram and Italy filled in their place to create the Eurofighter-Rafale duo that we know.

From press reports it sounds like all the same issues have been repeated (workshares, IP protection, budgets, securing a European industry and how best to apply modern technology - Germany wanted control configured vehicles and post-stall and the RAF needed convincing) and doubtless many meetings would have sounded familiar to their 1970s counterparts.
We don't really know what national fluctuations may have occurred, certainly we do know that FCAS started as an Anglo-French UCAV programme in 2010 but soon faltered and gave way to two manned projects - we can conjecture whether Brexit got in the way or whether BAE and Dassault simply differed on UAV Vs Manned and went their own way or whether there was some deeper industrial disagreement mixed with political flagwaving for workshare and leadership.

The big difference is that it took TCA four years of technical and ministerial meetings to discuss these issues before the first common designs took shape in 1980 and actually settled on an agreed aircraft layout as opposed to generic number-crunching data excercises. In contrast both SCAF and Tempest nailed their flags to the mast pretty quickly with full-scale GRP display models pretty quickly after both FCASes were announced and given political approval. Workshares likewise seem to have been thrashed out reasonably quickly compared with TCA/EFA. There doesn't seem to be much room for manoeuver or merger without one side tearing up a lot of hard work and re-opening all the intensive workshare arguments again. So it feels like a non-sensical hope both will merge and after another 12-24 months the window will be lost completely unless one project throws in the towel - and that's not a realistic outcome.

So many chuckles today when you read in the files that the RAF wanted TCA in service in 1987 - what a hope they had! In contrast, both Tempest and Dassault-Airbus look to be moving much quicker than EFA and gives some confidence they might hit the planned in service dates this time.
 

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Somehow I very much doubt it Grey Havoc that the two FCAS fighter programs will merge in this post Brexit world, which is rather sad. :(
Don't forget that Sweden and Italy are partners of the Tempest program. Two countries that to my knowledge still belong to the EU.
Hence we could say that Tempest is a 2/3rd EU project, hence not really affected by the Brexit.
 

kaiserd

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Somehow I very much doubt it Grey Havoc that the two FCAS fighter programs will merge in this post Brexit world, which is rather sad. :(
Don't forget that Sweden and Italy are partners of the Tempest program. Two countries that to my knowledge still belong to the EU.
Hence we could say that Tempest is a 2/3rd EU project, hence not really affected by the Brexit.
As noted by other contributors both “competing” programs are clearly both profoundly influenced by Brexit and its consequences. Having them as separate programs is a mistake but as noted above, we’ve been here before….
 

Foo Fighter

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Too much is made of that and it really is pointless to claim for or against the effects on cooperation.
 

uk 75

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The elephant in the room for both FCAS and Tempest is whatever the US develops to replace its F15s and F22s. In fact the F35 is already trumpeting as a cheaper (crazy as these words sound) alternative even for France.
The F44 (cant think of anything more imaginative) is likely to arrive before either of the Europeans.
 

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Even more when it remains to be seen what FCAS will bring as extra for Spain Germany and France compared to buying F-35s. With 12 billion euros committed today, that's roughly 130 jets that could have been delivered in far less than a decade (reference basis is the latest Swiss contract that even includes some bonus)
 
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Hood

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Again its deja vu from the 1970s. F-18 then could have filled the bill for ECA off the shelf. ECA to survive had to offer more to make keeping European industry going an economic proposition. Its fair to say the Typhoon that emerged was rather different to what the original F/A-18A had been.

It seems that the selling point for Tempest and FCAS is not simply 'a fighter' it is an entire concept of an integrated system with loyal wingmen etc.

The big unkown is whether building a bespoke complete package actually works out cheaper or is any more effective than simply buying a UCAV off the shelf and linking it to an F-35.

Its also unclear how the 'System' in FCAS is actually working out in practice. In the UK Mosquito and Vixen are parallel but loosely linked to Tempest as part of FCAS. We've yet to see much of what Airbus is bringing on the UCAV side to SCAF. Nor is it clear whether, if money gets tight over the next decade or so, whether these unammed portions will be sacrifced to fund the fighter element.

F-35 is a juggernaut, for every arguement against collaboration, F-35 is so vast and has so many partners that its getting hard to beat the economics for such a huge programme which had thousands of airfames 'sold' even when the first partner nations signed up to take part. No other fighter programme is ever going to come close in terms of manufacturing costs, scale and depth of support. LM and its partners have probably already built more F-35s than we'll ever see numbers of Tempests and SCAFs combined.
 

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kaiserd

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George Orwell would be proud of the level of double talk employed in that statement.
Fascinating reading.
Underlines the still unresolved funding issues and that for all of the positive talk from flag-wielding politicians this project is very much still in its infancy at the very most.
 

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"The IPA said that the ministry had capped spending on the first four years of the Tempest programme at GBP12.8 billion"

So some people are suggesting £12.8 billion is not enough?
 

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That's odd, when you click on the Jane's link now its coming up as a cut of £450mil (the USD conversion has been updated to). Presumably the £350mil originally quoted was a mistake?

I don't think we should get our knickers in a twist, £12.8bn is a spending cap for the first four years, not a budget. The budget given is £9.46mil, so only two-thirds of the cap. I can't see them burning through more than £3bn of cash annually when the entire concept and definition phase is only £1.65bn. That leaves them £11.2bn to spend to the cap and £7.81bn on the MoD's budget, which I presume will need to be shared between the engine and avionic partners, plus any monies from Italy and Sweden.

Plus you have to factor in whatever is allocated to Mosquito and Vixen for the other parts of FCAS.
 

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The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has awarded a contract worth approximately £250m to progress the design and development of Tempest, the UK’s Future Combat Air System (FCAS). The contract, signed by BAE Systems, officially marks the start of the programme’s concept and assessment phase.


View: https://twitter.com/BAESystemsAir/status/1420699383176351744
 

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Good news, now we just need Sweden to stump up some cash and we might then be able to gauge the level of workshare between the partners.
Italy's contribution over 3 years seems to be about 25% of that of Britain's in cash terms. So possibly its a 50/25/25 UK/Swe/IT split? Just a guesstimate.
 

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Good news, now we just need Sweden to stump up some cash and we might then be able to gauge the level of workshare between the partners.
Italy's contribution over 3 years seems to be about 25% of that of Britain's in cash terms. So possibly its a 50/25/25 UK/Swe/IT split? Just a guesstimate.

I wonder if Italy's 20 million Euros funding will spur on Sweden to do like wise and give funding to Tempest.
 

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Interesting snippet on 2 Excel's involvement in the programme, although the second sentence meets the Daily Mails usual high journalistic standards (sarcasm)

"2 Excel is also designing a flight-test aircraft, based on a Boeing 757, for the Team Tempest fighter jet programme. All the sensors and electronics will be tested on the aeroplane, the only flying test bed of its kind outside the US."

Flying the flag for British aviation: From the Red Arrows to Afghanistan... two ex-RAF pilots see their aerospace firm take-off

Zeb
 

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I think the government should increase the funding to Tempest so to avoid the delay. Any delay could be catastrophic to the future of the air defence of the UK especially when the Typhoon is retired in the 2030s.
 

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I've put this comment elsewhere regarding both FSS and Tempest. Thought it would bear repeating.

TLDR - Don't rely too heavily on UK Government Programme RAG statuses as reported in the press...

I do wish the trade press (and the press in general) would actually get a real understanding of IPA RAG statuses (IPA=Infrastructure and Projects Authority, RAG=Red Amber Green). Yes there is a clear definition of what each level means (Red, Red/Amber, Amber, Amber/Green and Green) in writing, but the actual RAG status assigned to GMPP (Government Major Project Portfolio) programmes is given in a rather opaque manner. Reviewers are brought in to an IPA review (either at a defined Gateway, or at the request of the SRO, Senior Responsible Officer, for a semi-private Project Assurance Review, also known as PAR) and assign a RAG status and issue a report, which includes an assessment and recommendations. They are exceptionally conservative with this, after all no one will ever criticise them for a programme that they assign a Red RAG to that goes on to be successful…giving a Green to a programme that fails is an issue however….these assigned RAG statuses permeate all reporting. When you report quarterly to the IPA, or annually for the Transparency Return, which is publically published, you’re mad if you try and stray too far from an IPA RAG status that has been assessed recently. This has the effect of there always being a lag in the system of the actual RAG status, particularly in long running programmes that might not have really frequent reviews.

Speaking from experience I recently completed a GMPP programme, we were rated Red for 4 years, before making a brief foray into Amber/Red. By any reading of the definition, as its published, after 4 years of 'Red' status we should have failed or have been stopped. We were given a Green rating only at the final Gateway, the Gateway that happens after you've actually finished,….as we had successfully delivered a ‘novel and contentious’ programme early, dramatically under budget, with rave reviews from industry/users and with provable cash benefits over twice as great as the business case stated (and we were told for years that it was overly ambitious)….

Basically… treat RAG statuses with a degree of caution….Red and Red/Amber do not always mean exactly what the definition says…other variables are factored in with a great big dollop of reviewers caution and bias.
 

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Plus it does not address that its a tri-national programme, Italy and Sweden will be contributing funding as well.
There seems to be too much assumption from the commentariat that the UK has to carry the whole burden itself.
We don't know the workshares yet, based on Italy's reported contribution over the next 3 years I suspect a 50/25/25 split, but it could be more or less for the UK share - in any case the lion's share depends on UK funding.
Plus you have to factor the amounts earmarked for Mosquito and potentially Vixen and other related programmes to make FCAS a reality, and at the end of the day to goal is to have a combat system and not just a fancy fighter.

It does worry me slightly though that, unlike the vocal Franco-German SCAF, Tempest seems very quiet and not much in the way of Leonardo and SAAB making a fuss or their governments worrying about IOCs and how much they are going to spend. Quiet can mean everything is going smoothly or it could mean they are slipstreaming to see how things pan out. At worst its probably feeding this British commentariat assumption this is Spitfire 2.0 for the UK alone.

As to the IOC date? Well only a mug would put all his chips on betting they meet the deadline at this stage - the law of averages is against it.
 

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Roper, who left U.S. government service in January, became an adviser to the RAF this summer, he told Defense News in an exclusive interview.

“[Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston] asked to meet with me in Washington and said: ‘We want to digitally transform the whole service, and we need help to do it,’ ” Roper said. “They want to chase [a] digital engineering approach for future fighters; they want to do the same cloud approach that we did with doing containerized development [for software].”
 

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Roper, who left U.S. government service in January, became an adviser to the RAF this summer, he told Defense News in an exclusive interview.

“[Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston] asked to meet with me in Washington and said: ‘We want to digitally transform the whole service, and we need help to do it,’ ” Roper said. “They want to chase [a] digital engineering approach for future fighters; they want to do the same cloud approach that we did with doing containerized development [for software].”
I would say that’s something of a star signing as they say in football. Providing they listen and act on what he has to say.
 

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I hope this news becomes true, I would really like Japan to be a partner nation of the Tempest program, we need more nations to support the project. :cool:

Try to ask Japanese politicians and representatives of MHI & IHI first ...
 

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Leonardo UK today announced it had awarded the UK’s 2Excel Aviation an undisclosed contract to turn a commercial airliner into a “flying laboratory” for tech that could be incorporated into the sixth-generation fighter, as “Team Tempest” prepares to enter its flight test phase.

 

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