Tempest - UK Future fighter programme

SteveO

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Yay! the UK still has the capability to build a mock-up ;D

BBC article mentions that the hardware and systems for Tempest will start life as Typhoon upgrades. Mature hardware and systems into a new airframe always sounds like one of those good ideas. Hopefully they will give it a nose job or maybe it just needs to bulk up to look more in proportion!

It reminded me of this article someone posted on SP a while back - Recent Combat Aircraft Life Cycle Costing Developments with DERA (page 5 fig 7 and the Low Support Vehicle.
 

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red admiral

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FighterJock said:
As a design right now it would not survive for very long in the current close in dogfighting against the likes of the Su-57 with the advanced thrust vectored R-74M.
Shoot it with the laser?
 

mrmalaya

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There has been quite a lot of work already towards the ideas illustrated, whether it's the flexible payload bay, new engine or the energy requirements for DEW.

I think it's fair to say that the team will have an excellent idea of what airframe design will be required to meet the RAF requirement and this is going to be an A2A specialist.

The use of vertical fins is actually the bit I find hardest to swallow, but as has been said before, the airframe is designed so as not to increase development time/risk and let the systems and weapons do the heavy lifting.
 

Flyaway

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Only issue is going to be funding this probably means buying a lot less F-35s and in turn upsetting the Americans. Maybe that’s a price we’ll just have to pay.
 

Moose

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The "_ Gen" thing is, at this point, hard to get too worked up about given all the static about which planes are in which generation. I will say that lasers and advanced engines are good ambitions to have and I'd put those as more "generation defining" features than tail/no-tail.

Flyaway said:
Only issue is going to be funding this probably means buying a lot less F-35s and in turn upsetting the Americans. Maybe that’s a price we’ll just have to pay.
I wouldn't say that, this might effect out-year purchases of F-35 but nothing immediate.
 

Flyaway

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Flightglobal seem to have quite a few quotes I haven’t seen before in other articles.

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/farnborough-tempest-concept-underscores-uk-fighter-450327/
 

harrier

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http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/22190/the-u-k-s-new-tempest-stealth-fighter-project-already-faces-serious-challenges
 

kcran567

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Is this air superiority, Typhoon replacement? Is the F-35 going to overlap with this program?
 

mrmalaya

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It is aimed at the Typhoon replacement requirement, although I don't imagine that it will be strictly A2A in role (as with Typhoon).
 

Blitzo

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Gotta say the nose chines on this thing are distinctive.

2035 is quite a while away, and not an unreasonable in service date for a new clean sheet project of its ambition. Can't help but wonder what "5+" generation aircraft US, China, Russia may be flying by then though.

The development timelines of current and new 5th gen fighters reminds me of 4th gen and 4+ gen fighters of past decades where the US and USSR were the first to arguably put out the first iterations of 4th gen fighter aircraft, and then succeeded by the so called "4+" generation of fighters emerged from Europe, Asia, and in forms of new variants of existing US and Russian fighters.

Not too dissimilar this time around with 5th gen fighters where US led the pack followed by Russia but also this time with China, who will field the first major types of 5th gen fighters, but with Europe and Asia fielding their own 5+ gen fighters some years after, likely to be accompanied by upgraded variants of F-35, Su-57, J-20 in a similar period. History certainly does rhyme.
 

galgot

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Why do I have that deja vu feeling…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yj9OYFkB2y8
When BAe presented his EAP mockup, and Dassault his Rafale models.
 

mrmalaya

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It's funny how the development of a fighter is apparently so political for some people. I suppose they become totemic of that countries perceived success and role in the world.
 

CJGibson

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galgot said:
Why do I have that deja vu feeling…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yj9OYFkB2y8
When BAe presented his EAP mockup, and Dassault his Rafale models.
Beat me to it!

Chris
 

Hood

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My further thoughts and doubts having read more about the Tempest.

Is this actually a military requirement or a strategic industrial requirement? To my mind its the latter. All the major European aircraft companies are jumping up and down waving brochures and pretty looking CAD models hoping to attract the Air Marshalls of Europe to influence their political minsters to sign off some big cheques. I've yet to see any rational defence planning from the major countries about what they actually want.

It looks as though FCAS as we knew it via Taranis and Nueron is dead. Both France and now Britain have gone down the manned fighter route (optionally manned seems a useful get-out clause but it seem badly inefficient). Is this because the defence staffs found no need for an unmanned strike platform or is it because they are unwilling to commit to unmanned combat aircraft (a bit like the Blue Streak silo theory)? Team Tempest, as far as I know, were created to look at FCAS options and they obviously came firmly down on the side of a manned fighter.

How serious is the Tempest design? We've recently discussed all the BAE Systems FCAS concepts since 2014, all have looked completely different and seem to have been designed for slightly different requirements. How solid any of them actually were as opposed to interesting artwork designed to attract attention is open to question. Tempest looks quite different from what BAE has been recently offering, it even looks quite different from TF-X. It is obviously larger than the F-35 but its not clear what the role of this airframe is, a pure fighter or a strike platform? The F-35 seems to be the strike option of choice for the RAF at the moment and probably will remain to be so. I don't think the F-35 can be ruled out of remaining an effective air defence fighter with further systems and engine upgrades (assuming the RAF has to money to buy upgrades for F-35 and Typhoon). Does the RAF really need to duplicate its manned fighters in 20 years time?

The money is important. Williamson has been trying to prise money from the Treasury and Cabinet but without any success so far. Collaboration is a must, but I get the sense public stunts like the unveiling of Tempest are attempts to force the government to release more funds in the longer term by whipping up public interest, just like the P.106 and P.110 'Spitfire II' two decades ago. Whether that is possible remains to be seen. There still a lot of maneuvering to be done, I don't think we'll get a clearer picture until 2020 when everyone by then will have chosen their sides.

Rolls-Royce has clearly been working on new engine technology for some time, but the Franco-German fighter looks likely to have an MTU-led engine consortium. Rolls-Royce need to get onto a programme and perhaps an Anglo-Swiss fighter programme is the only chance they have.
Part of me can't help wondering if some kind of US-Japan-UK hybrid F-22/F-35 wouldn't be another option to keep and captialise on BAE's buy-in to the F-35 programme.
 

mrmalaya

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I know it must be sorely tempting to see this in the context of programmes from decades before (what choice do we have?), but to view it in isolation for a moment:

Billions of pounds have been committed to the first stage which gets us through the "business case" and then into a decision to go forward with a project by 2020! The IOC date of 2035 is relatively ambitious and plenty of words have been expended on the need to break the long development cycle and it's associated spiralling costs.

The project is designed to be upgraded throughout it's life, with software and hardware easily transferred onto the airframe.

Team Tempest have already spent significant time and money (before the launch of the project) in demonstrating key aspects such as flexible weapons bay and evolution of avionics and weaponry.

This programme is designed to upgrade Typhoon in RAF service, and those upgrades and experience will then feed into the systems used on the future fighter.

Whilst the illustrated aircraft differ from the mock up, it is clear that they are not proposing a revolutionary airframe (although I am told that in pre-launch breifings BAE had 2 such designs which they admitted were less likely to make it into the air).


All in all, it's going to get headlines because of the industrial implications. If Taranis is indeed now in the long grass, this programme is merely an extension of the oft stated desire to do it for ourselves. Even is Japan or Sweden jump in for the big win, the programme and it's timelines are already defined to a greater extent than the projects from the past 40 years.
 

CJGibson

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mrmalaya said:
I know it must be sorely tempting to see this in the context of programmes from decades before (what choice do we have?), but to view it in isolation for a moment:
 

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shedofdread

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Not unlike this FOAS concept..?

One wonders if there were the bits to make a mock-up for same floating around the 'back of the shed'? ;)

I promise that's the last cynical thing I'll post re Tempest....
 

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sferrin

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mrmalaya said:
It's funny how the development of a fighter is apparently so political for some people. I suppose they become totemic of that countries perceived success and role in the world.
Not "perceived". I take it you hail from a country that can NOT develop it's own fighter independently?
 

mrmalaya

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No, I'm from the UK and we have chosen not to develop our own fighters for some time now ;D
 

Archibald

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Nice mockup, really. I kind of enjoy it. As noted earlier - think of the P.110 mockups (also happened with P.1216, unfortunately). Perhaps Sweden will jump aboard that ship.
 

mrmalaya

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Part of me does wonder to what extent the mock-up ways designed around the exhibition space rather than the other way around. The other designs being considered probably have as much validity at this stage as the one used in the mock-up. This images are from Tim Robinson who was present at the breifing day prior to the launch.
 

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flateric

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This is scetch from BAE Warton media day that was much earlier.
 

mrmalaya

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Yes, I didn't mean the same day as the Air Combat launch. Still pretty ropey evidence either way.
 

Airplane

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Wow that is aggressive timing! 17 years to get it into production by 2035! I see they are following American (and Lockheed) style of product development timing. Weapons programs have become nothing more than jobs and money distribution programs. Imagine this timing in the day of the Phantom II... Kicked off in circa 1953 and it would have entered service in 1970. The Phantom was the most complex aircraft conceived at that time and they pulled it off in about 7 years entering service in 1960. Arguably, relatively speaking, the Phantom was more complex to the engineers engineering it than aircraft of today as the Phantom was heavily laden with complicated avionics and radar who technology was not even on the drawing boards when the engineers who engineered it all were adolescents. It was all Gee Whiz Buck Rogers technology back then.
 

FighterJock

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When is the Typhoon out of service date supposed to be? If we know that then we can start to predict when a successor fighter should be ready for service.
 

SpudmanWP

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Airplane said:
Wow that is aggressive timing! 17 years to get it into production by 2035! I see they are following American (and Lockheed) style of product development timing.
You might want to look at the Typhoon/Rafale timings before thinking this is a US thing. Don't forget to add additional time to develop VLO tech.
 

Avimimus

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flateric said:
This is scetch from BAE Warton media day that was much earlier.
Good to know. I like the F-16XLish one on the right. I also like Replica... whereas the mockup is... well... unpretty and unoptimised. If there is only a 40% chance of successful development then aesthetics are a valid criterion, no?
 

FighterJock

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In the middle picture, the Tempest has a chine that makes it look a bit like the YF-23.
 

Flyaway

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I wonder whatever happened to that BAE design that looked like a Bird of Prey that they used in some of their promo videos two or three years ago.
 

mrmalaya

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I'm assuming it's one of the ones they said (during the Warton press day) is less likely to actually get chosen.

Perhaps if BAE can convince potential partners that tailless job is safe, it might make a reappearance.
 

Rhinocrates

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A close-up of the image posted by Flateric above, showing the intakes and lower fuselage that aren't clear in the photos of the model.
 

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DrRansom

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To my eye, the Tempest's design features fix several of the short-comings of existing LO/VLO fighter aircraft:

1. The explicit statement of "balanced-survivability" is a rejection, either through operational analysis or budget analysis, of the pursuit of even greater stealth. I suspect operational analysis, as we are starting to see more and more comments to the effect that stealth is a necessary, but not sufficient, component of future aircraft survivability.

2. The reconfigurable payload bay and planned conformal carry is an explicit attempt to return some flexibility to stealth aircraft. I suspect the origins are that the F-22 and F-35 do not have a lot of room internally to fit different payloads. For the USAF, this is less of an issue because the USAF can afford other support aircraft to carry payloads. For the RAF and like-minded airforces, this will be an issue. China and Russia have already moved towards excessively large bays on their stealth aircraft, this is a continuation and amplification of that trend.


Now, the curious question is if we will see similar design decisions made in the PCA. I think so.
 

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https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/research/a22168844/uk-new-fighter-jet-tempest/

The United Kingdom has announced the country’s first entirely British fighter in decades. The new Tempest fighter project will primarily involve British defense contractors, forging a plane that could be used for domestic use and export. The British government says the fighter should be ready for service by 2035.

U.K. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson introduced a full-sized model of the new Tempest multi-role fighter today at the Farnborough Air Show. The Tempest incorporates a host of new technologies that would surpass what's in the F-35, meaning the British plane would join the growing group of "sixth-generation" fighters now on the drawing board. Several defense correspondents and aviation experts tweeted out some juicy details from briefings, particularly the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Tim Robinson.
 

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TomcatViP

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Doesn't it have the look of a 21st century Gloster Javelin?
 

FighterJock

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mrmalaya said:
That nose design has been seen before hasn't it?

I wonder what the benefits are?
I thought the nose looked somewhat familiar.
 

fredymac

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1zXOXAZKe0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDIw2UNFdek
 
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