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BAE Systems Announces NextGen Developments for RAF Combat Air System; Ian Bancroft Quoted

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BAE Systems has announced the most recent  concepts under development for the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) next generation combat air system to be delivered by Team Tempest, a UK technology and defense partnership formed by BAE Systems, Leonardo, MBDA, Rolls-Royce and the RAF. 

“We are embracing new ways of working as an integrated team to dramatically improve efficiency and pace – sharing intelligence and refining our concepts digitally to deliver innovations that will shape the next generation combat air system,” said Iain Bancroft, director of Major Air Programmes at Leonardo in the UK.

Tempest has been designed to deliver a highly advanced, adaptable combat air system to come into service from the mid-2030s. This next generation combat aircraft will leverage new technologies to respond to the evolving defense landscape. The team will address high-tech and complex threats and conflict.

Leonardo UK has begun development of a new radar technology, Multi-Function Radio Frequency System, to provide more data than existing systems. The system will collect and process massive amounts of data on the battlespace with the ability to locate and target enemies. 

“Our new radar technology is a concrete example of the gains this approach has already brought, costing 25 percent less to develop while providing over 10,000 times more data than existing systems,” Bancroft added.

BAE Systems have begun flight testing cutting-edge concepts for Tempest’s wearable cockpit technologies. The company designed the offering to provide pilots in the cockpit or operators on the ground with a split-second advantage. The offering will leverage augmented and virtual reality displays, which will be projected inside the visor of a helmet.

In addition, BAE Systems has started trials on ‘psycho-physiological’ technologies, such as eye-tracking, to study the operator’s physical and cognitive processes. BAE Systems pilots are currently testing the offering in controlled test flight conditions in a Typhoon aircraft, which will inform further development.

The Team Tempest partners are developing more than 60 technology demonstrations in the fields of sensing, data management and autonomy to prove world-leading processes and technologies on the program.

“The collaborative relationship between Team Tempest and our network of academic and SME partners enables us to bring together the ‘best of the best’ engineering talent from across the UK,” Bancroft concluded.