British Tempest Stealth Fighter Project Eyes New Partners

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Team Tempest fighter must have another big partner in its sights

Sky's Ian King says progress in the Team Tempest project is crucial for the country's defence sector and the jobs it supports.

Ian King
Business presenter @iankingsky
Monday 20 July 2020 17:04, UK

Britain's defence minister, Gavin Wiliamson unveiled a model of a new jet fighter, called 'Tempest' at the Farnborough Airshow, in Farnborough, UK

Image:A model of Tempest was first shown off at Farnborough two years ago

And, most importantly, it would have seen immensely busy air traffic in the skies above Hampshire.
Because today would have seen the biannual Farnborough International Airshow, the second-largest event of its kind in the world, in full swing.
Executives from the global aerospace sector, both civil and defence, would have rubbed shoulders with politicians, financiers and journalists. Deals would have been done. Others, totalling billions of pounds, would have been unveiled.

Farnborough International Airshow

Image:The last Farnborough International Airshow was held in 2018
The last event, in 2018, saw nearly £150bn worth of contracts announced.

The event, which in the past is where iconic aircraft such as Concorde, the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Airbus A380 have been launched, showcases Britain's expertise and world-leading position in a key strategic industry.

Its cancellation this year, due to COVID-19, is merely the latest blow to a sector already been laid low by the pandemic.
Yet the event has still been taking place, albeit in a virtual setting, with key announcements on Monday concerning the UK's planned sixth-generation fighter jet.
It was at Farnborough two years ago that Tempest, the intended successor to the Typhoon, was first unveiled.
Led by Britain's two premier engineering companies, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce, the consortium - Team Tempest - building the fighter-bomber also included the European missile developer MBDA.
The unveiling thrilled the industry. Aerospace is one of the UK's most important export earners and Tempest promises to secure many thousands of highly-skilled and well-paid jobs over the next two decades as well as thousands more in the supply chain.
Tempest was, arguably, born out of the Brexit vote.
A decision about how many jets there will be will be made in 2025

Image:A decision about how many jets there will be is due to be made in 2015

The Typhoon is due to be phased out in the late 2030s and early 2040s and the UK had originally envisaged building as its successor an Anglo-French jet fighter in a consortium led by BAE Systems and Dassault Aviation, the French aerospace giant, which is best known for its Rafale jet fighter.
After the UK voted to leave the EU, France announced plans instead to build its next generation fighter jet in partnership with Germany, with Dassault joining forces with Airbus - one of the partners in building the Typhoon. The Spanish government subsequently announced it would be joining the project.
So Tempest also marked Britain's determination to build a next generation jet fighter of its own.
The announcement did not go down well in some European capitals as it was taken as a sign of weakening European defence co-operation.
Emmanuel Macron, the French president, grumbled at last year's Paris Air Show: "Competition amongst Europeans, when it weakens us against the Americans, the Chinese, is ridiculous."

Accordingly, Team Tempest has sought to bring in other partners and other governments. Shortly after the unveiling at Farnborough, it was announced that Leonardo, the Italian parent company of helicopter maker Agusta Westland, would be joining Team Tempest. So too did Saab, Sweden's leading defence contractor, but other partnerships have to date failed to materialise.
Monday, then, was an opportunity to show that Tempest still has momentum.
Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, used the virtual Farnborough to confirm that seven new companies had signed agreements to collaborate on Team Tempest.
The aircraft will not come into service until 2035

Image:The aircraft is not due to enter service until 2035

They are the UK arms of the US industrial giant GE, the US aircraft parts maker Collins Aerospace and the French electrical systems group Thales - a key partner in the construction of the Royal Navy's new aircraft carriers - and the Canadian engineer Bombardier. They also include three domestic players: the aerospace engineering group GKN, the ejector seat maker Martin-Baker and the defence technology group Qinetiq.
Mr Wallace said that Team tempest had already devised a ground-breaking piece of technology by devising a generator that delivers unprecedented levels of electrical power.
He added: "Just two years after Team Tempest was created they delivered a world first. It's no surprise; when you attract the very best of British engineering and design, technological leaps like these are guaranteed.
"That's why I'm delighted seven more companies have joined this mission to work in collaboration with the MoD, under the Team Tempest banner. They will bring the ambition, invention and expertise that will deliver the breakthroughs we will depend on for decades to come.
"These pioneers will strengthen our ability to develop a next generation aircraft and allow us to continue making vital contributions to UK, European and global security."
Separately, Saab - which is best-known for manufacturing the Gripen fighter jet - announced it will invest an initial £50m opening a new centre to develop air combat technology, highlighting a deepening of its commitment to Tempest.
The location of the site has not been confirmed but is expected to be close to the existing BAE Systems Tempest teams in Lancashire.
The big question remaining, though, is whether manufacturers from other nations will join Team Tempest.
Japan has yet to decide on what will replace its existing jet fighter programme, the Mitsubishi F-2, with the Japanese Ministry of Defence holding talks with both its British And American counterparts in recent months about a possible collaboration.
Turkey, which was last year kicked out of the consortium led by US giant Lockheed-Martin building the new F-35 stealth fighter jet after buying Russian-made air defence systems,, has also been mooted as a possible partner. So has Australia.
Bringing in another partner - particularly Japan - would really show that the project is flying.

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It's interesting as the Eurofighter Typhoon was shared research and development between three European countries. A fifth generation stealth fighter takes immense resources and development time. China is working on their own stealth jet. Supposedly the Russian Sukhoi SU-57 isn't as stealthy as once claimed.
 
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Great to use the name again. The original Tempest/Typhoon's were some of my favorite aircraft; pretty wing and some of the models were fierce looking w/ the huge chin intake.
 
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It's interesting as the Eurofighter Typhoon was shared research and development between three European countries. A fifth generation stealth fighter takes immense resources and development time. China is working on their own stealth jet. Supposedly the Russian Sukhoi SU-57 isn't as stealthy as once claimed.

A lot of countries claim to be working on some sort of stealth fighter or attack plane. Iran has some mock up, although everyone is highly skeptical given that they're trying to keep as many F-14s in flying conditions as they can.

China's (the J-20) doesn't really seem like much of an offensive threat. It seems to be more of a high speed interceptor. The canards by themselves aren't good for stealth capabilities. It seems to be more of an interceptor than anything else. They can't seem to make the engines needed for super cruise in enough numbers, and they've been using engines that they removed from planes they bought from Russia. It's an interesting exercise of course. Their biggest problem will be producing it in enough numbers.
 
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I wonder when Area 51 will get their own Chinese aircraft to test? They've had the ted square section for Russian testing for years. Unofficially the 4477th were the group that tested migs but from what I've read they were folded up into another group in the early 2000's
 

Jackson_Slugger

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I believe the USAF has older Chinese aircraft like J-8's or maybe a 10. A lot of Chinese PLAAF tend to be licensed or pirated Russian aircraft with crap engines as they can't seem to make a good jet engine. I doubt there would be much access to newer Chinese aircraft like the J-20 Stealth Fighter...

Japan is also working on a stealth fighter to essentially replace or at least Augment their F-15J's:


They expressed interest in restarting the F-22's production line but it was judged to be impractical and nearly as expensive as building a new aircraft...
 
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The British stealth fighter will never happen. Not only does a country have to have the best brains to be able to design and build such a machine, they also need to have the vast sums of money it will cost. Some countries like Britain have the brains and some countries like China have the cash. The only country with both is America.
 
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The British stealth fighter will never happen. Not only does a country have to have the best brains to be able to design and build such a machine, they also need to have the vast sums of money it will cost. Some countries like Britain have the brains and some countries like China have the cash. The only country with both is America.

They have the engine technology for supercruise. It's more an art than a science in making single-crystal turbine blades. Basically only PW, GE, and RR have the skills to make those in any numbers. They've been able to make a few in China, but I understand quite a few have failed.
 
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They have the engine technology for supercruise. It's more an art than a science in making single-crystal turbine blades. Basically only PW, GE, and RR have the skills to make those in any numbers. They've been able to make a few in China, but I understand quite a few have failed.
China is still sourcing engines from Russia.
STealth Fighter in UK won't happen anytime soon, if ever.
 
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Hi
So far the Covid crisis has cost UK £300 Billion. There will be tough times ahead and i suspect that large budget items like the Tempest will be cancelled.
 
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The Russian engines they were using weren't all that advanced. I don't think they were capable of super cruise. However, they didn't blow up.
Depends what you want. Saturn Al-31 can achieve supercruise, but have some limitations.
Russians have different philosophy when it comes to engines and different understanding of advanced.
 
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Depends what you want. Saturn Al-31 can achieve supercruise, but have some limitations.
Russians have different philosophy when it comes to engines and different understanding of advanced.

Ideally the WS-15 engines they're trying to produce would provide the level of performance they want. They're having serious problems with QC. Didn't they have one explode on them during supercruise testing?
 
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The fronts [noses} of the latest generations of fighters look like the fronts of a boat compared to the older generations of fighters.

Radar. One of the reasons why the F-14 was so big was because the nose housed a massive radar. A lot of the new "stealth" aircraft are chunky because everything (fuel, weapons) has to be inside to reduce the radar signature. An F-35 can have external weapons, but that kind of seems besides the point.
 
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Ideally the WS-15 engines they're trying to produce would provide the level of performance they want. They're having serious problems with QC. Didn't they have one explode on them during supercruise testing?
They always had issues with QC. I talked about that here.
Their small weapons systems are though second to none. I operated both western and eastern weapons technology, and would take any day anything Russian over Western when it comes to simple, on the ground systems. They do not complicate, they keep it simple. When it comes to technologically advance systems, that is where Russians are inferior, be it QC or logistics supporting those systems.
 
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They always had issues with QC. I talked about that here.
Their small weapons systems are though second to none. I operated both western and eastern weapons technology, and would take any day anything Russian over Western when it comes to simple, on the ground systems. They do not complicate, they keep it simple. When it comes to technologically advance systems, that is where Russians are inferior, be it QC or logistics supporting those systems.

I was thinking of the Xian WS-15 engine made in China. I hear they've either had a tough time making enough single-crystal turbine blades or they let ones slip with defects, which then failed.
 
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I was thinking of the Xian WS-15 engine made in China. I hear they've either had a tough time making enough single-crystal turbine blades or they let ones slip with defects, which then failed.
Their project is testament how difficult is to make jet engines and that stealing intellectual property has limits.
 
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Their project is testament how difficult is to make jet engines and that stealing intellectual property has limits.

Creating single crystal turbine blades is closer to an art form than a science. They can seemingly make some, but not in the numbers that they need for full production.
 
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Creating single crystal turbine blades is closer to an art form than a science. They can seemingly make some, but not in the numbers that they need for full production.
True. But there are deeper, political issues here. Not the topic, but I always look their efforts through example of Sergei Korolev. You cannot run projects requiring big ideas and freedom of thinking by decree and intelligence services.
 
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