Leonardo UK, the British arm of Italian defence contractor Leonardo, is one of four companies, along with BAE Systems, 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. Related articles
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Tempest fighter jet: Defence analyst fears for hi-tech fighter project 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.However, Norman Bone, Leonardo UK’s chairman and managing director, said Britain’s partnership with Sweden and Italy meant it was well-placed to retain its independence.
He explained: “Tempest has a very ambitious timescale. It is expected to go into service with the Royal Air Force in 2035, meaning that we’re developing, producing and fielding Tempest in about half the time it took to do the same with the Eurofighter Typhoon.“This sounds fast, and it will be unprecedented for the development of a combat air system this advanced, complex and capable.
British know-how can deliver the Tempest Fighter Jet (Image: GETTY/Leonardo)
The aim is to deploy the Tempest Fighter Jet by 2035 (Image: GETTY) We’re confident that the timescale is also realistic given current and near-future design and manufacturing processesNorman Bone“But we’re confident that the timescale is also realistic given current and near-future design and manufacturing processes.
”Mr Bone added: “As a high-tech electronics business, we’ve come a long way since Typhoon started development in the 1980s.“Here at Leonardo UK we’re keeping our engineering work on Tempest technology development proceeding at pace.”In December the company demonstrated a brand new radar warner technology to the Ministry of Defence and Team Tempest partners.
Mr Bone said: “The new technology, made in Luton, has four times the performance of a typical radar warner while being just one-tenth the size of a standard system - and is an example of the kind of leaps forward in technology which we’re making.READ MORE: EU divided as Hungary orders Brussels to side with US on Iran