A Tale of two European Sixth generation fighter jet
As the 5th generation fighter jets is the most lethal aerial weapon of the decade and the United States, Russia and China successfully produce its 5th generation aircraft and most of the countries is debating for its own 5th generation to be included in their fleet. In that scenario, the European countries completely skip 5th generation and moves to the production of the most advanced next generation aircraft.
BAE Systems, Leonardo, Rolls Royce and MBDA, who together form Team Tempest, with the view to building the high-tech sixth-generation aircraft. It will be deployed by 2035 if all goes to plan. Tempest, which would replace the Typhoon fighter, will be equipped with hypersonic and laser weapons, plus a squadron of semi-autonomous “wingmen” much like drones, which could undertake independent missions. The company, which has sites across the UK, has a key role in developing the jet’s avionics, the various electronic systems which will be used on board. it was revealed Team Tempest was dramatically stepping up its efforts as 2020 gets underway, with the number of people employed on the project across the four companies set to more than double, from 1,000 to 2,500.
Earlier this week, it was revealed Team Tempest was dramatically stepping up its efforts as 2020 gets underway, with the number of people employed on the project across the four companies set to more than double, from 1,000 to 2,500.
Industry insiders have suggested the ambitious nature of the project, coupled with budget restraints, means Tempest may eventually have to merge with a rival Franco-German scheme.
Paul Everitt, chief executive of ADS Group Ltd, the representing the aerospace, defense, security and space industries in the United Kingdom, said: “It’s very exciting and all very realistic, the drone swarms, the directed energy, all of it.
“This is not a replacement for current aircraft – this is about how we imagine air power being deployed in the future.”
“Tempest will support a thriving UK combat air industry and preserve Britain’s world-class expertise in combat air engineering for a generation.”
While acknowledging the tight schedule, Mr Bone added: “Part of our confidence that we’ll meet Tempest’s ambitious timescales stems from the inclusion of international partners now set to participate in Tempest.
“In July last year, Sweden announced that its government and industry will be partnering with the UK on future combat air activities including Tempest.
Then in September, Italy formally announced its participation. So now there are three nations, each with its own strong aviation industry, firmly backing the programme.
In the other corner is Germany, and France — united in development of yet another next-generation fighter for Europe, the Future Combat Air System. (The program is known in France as SCAF, or Systeme de Combat Aérien Futur.) That trio (thus far) brings the industrial expertise of Airbus and Dassault.
Future Combat Air System
On February 14, Spain formally joined the European Future Combat Air System/Système de Combat Aérien Futur (FCAS/SCAF) program. Spain’s defense minister, Margarita Robles, signed the agreement in Brussels with her French and German counterparts, Florence Parly and Ursula von der Leyen. Spain had hitherto held official observer status since the initial Franco-German agreement to launch FCAS/SCAF in July 2017.
FCAS/SCAF is a far-reaching program that encompasses not only a sixth-generation New Generation Fighter (NGF), but also unmanned combat air vehicles. NGF itself may even be unmanned, but that is unlikely, given that both France and Germany have nuclear commitments, for which an on-scene manned control element is desirable. NGF is scheduled to enter service around 2040.
With Spain and its Airbus Defence and Space business joining FCAS/SCAF, the two European teams aiming to build a sixth-generation fighter are slowly taking shape. The rival UK-led Team Tempest looks set to be joined by Italy, which already has an industrial presence through Leonardo UK. Other nations reported as having an interest in Tempest include the Netherlands and Sweden.