The Telegraph has reported that Sweden will be the first partner nation in the British Tempest programme to build a next-generation “Tempest” fighter jet.
Tempest – a collaboration between industry partners BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, MBDA and Leonardo and the British government.
“Britain’s Team Tempest programme to build a new fighter jet has moved a step closer to getting into the air with Sweden poised to announce it has signed up as the project’s first international partner,” according to The Telegraph.
The success of Tempest is vital if Britain is to secure the future of its £6bn-a-year combat air sector which has made up more than 80 per cent of the country’s defence exports over the past decade. Unveiling a life-size model of the proposed jet at Farnborough last year, then defence secretary Gavin Williamson said he wanted to see a sixth-generation combat aircraft flying by 2035. The Eurofighter Typhoon, a fourth-generation fighter jet, is due to start coming out of service with the UK armed forces from about 2040.
The Tempest programme aims to harness and develop UK capabilities that are critical for Next Generation (NextGen) Combat Air capability and to retain the UK’s position as a globally competitive leader through understanding of future concepts, technologies and capabilities.
A future combat air system must be able to survive the most challenging combat environments meaning that payload-range, speed and manoeuvrability will be key. Britain officials say that they expect that the system will be equipped with a range of sensors including radio frequency, active and passive electro-optical sensors and advanced electronic support measures to detect and intercept threats.
The system is likely to operate with kinetic and non-kinetic weapons. The integration of Laser Directed Energy Weapons for self-defence and use within visual range combat is also highly likely. The ability to deploy and manage air launched ‘swarming’ Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV) through a flexible payload bay allows the system to address dangerous Anti-Access Area Denial environments.
Air forces of the future will require a fighter system that is highly flexible and can be applied to a wide variety of military operations. Operators will have the ability to rapidly adapt the system to perform new functions or to change its performance.