Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

Contains threads on Royal Air Force equipment of the past, present and future.
new guy
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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

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It will also be a sovereign capable controllable product for the user-partner countries. F-35 is notoriously bad at this, with long development and even longer weapons integration times.
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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

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new guy wrote: 29 Dec 2023, 15:26 It will also be a sovereign capable controllable product for the user-partner countries. F-35 is notoriously bad at this, with long development and even longer weapons integration times.
When you consider F35 started in the JAST programme 39 years ago and it's still 5/6 years from full weapons integration.

It's all really quiet poor.

GCAS is promising delivery to partner nations in 11 years with full weapons integration following rapidly on.

It's one hell of a tight timeline and it's going to mean 100mph development from day 1!

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

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mrclark303 wrote: 29 Dec 2023, 14:44 I would have thought it was a capability that would make both Israel and the US rather nervous to be honest.
The QME is legally binding. Either Americans provide Israel with their own latest and greatest or they prevent the Saudi procurement if they/Israelis perceive GCAP to be superior.

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

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ThreeHeadedLion wrote: 29 Dec 2023, 23:20
mrclark303 wrote: 29 Dec 2023, 14:44 I would have thought it was a capability that would make both Israel and the US rather nervous to be honest.
The QME is legally binding. Either Americans provide Israel with their own latest and greatest or they prevent the Saudi procurement if they/Israelis perceive GCAP to be superior.
There really isn't any question that Tempest will be more capable than F35, it's probably going to be double the size and shift significantly more weapon systems at significantly longer range.

Can Uncle Sam prevent Saudi acquisition?

They could probably offer Saudi Arabia F35 at a knock down price perhaps or maybe apply geo political pressure on GCAP partners....

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

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Realistically Israel and the Saudis are de facto allies and Israel's qualitative edge was pretty much non existent until 2018. F15 + F16 vs F15 + Typhoon incl Meteor.

If KSA adopts GCAP - and they have 200 F15s that will need replacing sooner or later - and Israel use that to leverage themselves into NGAD it could be a win win win

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

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mrclark303 wrote: 29 Dec 2023, 12:51

The range issue is a real and present one when you consider the UK and Japan, though 'slightly' more puzzling regarding Italy....
Looking into my 2040 crystal ball...

Libya - failed state - massive gas reserves. A nice man from Beijing turns up offering a multi billion investment package .....
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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

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ThreeHeadedLion wrote: 29 Dec 2023, 23:20
mrclark303 wrote: 29 Dec 2023, 14:44 I would have thought it was a capability that would make both Israel and the US rather nervous to be honest.
The QME is legally binding. Either Americans provide Israel with their own latest and greatest or they prevent the Saudi procurement if they/Israelis perceive GCAP to be superior.
Hey - What is the QME ? Do you have a reference for it ?

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

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SD67 wrote: 30 Dec 2023, 12:20
mrclark303 wrote: 29 Dec 2023, 12:51

The range issue is a real and present one when you consider the UK and Japan, though 'slightly' more puzzling regarding Italy....
Looking into my 2040 crystal ball...

Libya - failed state - massive gas reserves. A nice man from Beijing turns up offering a multi billion investment package .....
Who knows, its quite possible that in the 2040's we could be looking at a PLAN base in the Med.

Perhaps even airbases to 'protect ' Chinese interests.

If the international situation continues to degrade, then we could have serious issues with potentially hostile players on NATO's Northern and Southern flanks.

Italy would certainly be a key player on the Southern flank, with Tempest really coming into its own.
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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

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Italy have used long range aircraft over a number of years. Tornado, loaned tornado adv, typhoon and now f35a which in particular is a long range aircraft.

Just out of interest how much fuel are people expecting the tempest to be able to carry?

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

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London Tallin distance (just taking a token frontline country) is 1800km almost like the 1900 from Rome to Nicosia. Nicosia where Eastmed gas pipe is going to pass, Oriental med is gaining way too much importance specially after what happened with Russia.

But as many said GCAP is mainly a survival race in regards towards rationalization of airspace industry. And luckily for us Italians and you British we rationalized back then with Augusta Westland.

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

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Sweden has some old Hercs. Brazil has some old AMX. Would it be surprising if Sweden ordered some C-390 and Brazil ordered more Gripen E?

Australia will have some old F/A-18 to replace around 2035. What does Australia make that the GCAP partners could possibly need around 2035?

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

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MQ28 Ghost Bat?

Not that I'd support that, we really need to have sovereign capability, but you could see the political attraction, and the Boeing lobby.
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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

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SD67 wrote: 30 Dec 2023, 20:06 MQ28 Ghost Bat?

Not that I'd support that, we really need to have sovereign capability, but you could see the political attraction, and the Boeing lobby.
I imagine the GCAP programme will be stretched financially to develop the fighter. I don't see the point of compromising the fighter by diverting funds into developing a loyal wingman airframe, too, when a solid political partner has already made one.
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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

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TheLoneRanger wrote: 30 Dec 2023, 12:33
ThreeHeadedLion wrote: 29 Dec 2023, 23:20
mrclark303 wrote: 29 Dec 2023, 14:44 I would have thought it was a capability that would make both Israel and the US rather nervous to be honest.
The QME is legally binding. Either Americans provide Israel with their own latest and greatest or they prevent the Saudi procurement if they/Israelis perceive GCAP to be superior.
Hey - What is the QME ? Do you have a reference for it ?
Qualitative Military Edge. Basically the US law guarantees that they will always keep Israel qualitatively ahead of everyone else in the middle east. That was the reason why UAE's approach for F35 was rebuffed even after signing of abraham accords.

https://2009-2017.state.gov/t/pm/rls/rm/176684.htm

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

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Spitfire9 wrote: 30 Dec 2023, 22:14
SD67 wrote: 30 Dec 2023, 20:06 MQ28 Ghost Bat?

Not that I'd support that, we really need to have sovereign capability, but you could see the political attraction, and the Boeing lobby.
I imagine the GCAP programme will be stretched financially to develop the fighter. I don't see the point of compromising the fighter by diverting funds into developing a loyal wingman airframe, too, when a solid political partner has already made one.
Agreed, in a perfect world, project Mosquito would have continued to provide a loyal wingman for the RAF/ FAA.

We don't have the cash and a big joint buy on Ghost Bat has to be the way to go. It's already well on the way to production standards in its development path and I think it rapidly became obvious that duplicating LW capability was not a wise financial decision from a UK perspective.

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest

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Just a quick new year’s thought exercise - so I’m not saying I’m favour - if size and range are the edge Tempest is bringing to the table over F-35 A ( or future upgraded F35 Block X/F-35D).

Would it be worth exploring an improved version of what Justin Bronk (I know he tends to shill for the US aviation industry, so just using some of the concept from the article) advocated for a while back.

So ditch future manned fighter and buy B-21, a few of whatever the appropriate time frame latest update of F-35 (would the offer be tempting enough for the US to allow us Israel level access?) Then really sink all team tempest’s industry and resources into a whole fleet of future UCAVs with sub variants for appropriate roles, make tempest into an ongoing project providing the latest loyal wingmen in different sizes and capabilities from high to low end? Really try to dominate the market for unmanned in the west?

Personally I’m not sure it would work and I’m sure it’s already been explored but was just curious.

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

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Don't get me wrong, I think B-21 is likely to be a fantastic platform and I'd love to see some in UK service however it has little to no UK content and is likely too rich for our blood, if not in purchase price then MRO costs.

Part of the reason the US is pursuing a 'Century Series' approach to their own CCA programme is that they don't yet have confidence in a single broad design philosophy/operational model for the requirement. So they're returning to the 1950s strategy of trying lots of different concepts in the hope of finding a 'UCAV F-4' (the optimum aircraft of the era for multiple roles).

We can't afford that level of trial and error. We even binned LANCA, having already dumped Taranis and Anglo-French FCAS.

GCAP will soon become more of a diplomatic/political concern than anything else. It will live and/or die on that hill.
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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest

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cky7 wrote: 31 Dec 2023, 18:47 Just a quick new year’s thought exercise - so I’m not saying I’m favour - if size and range are the edge Tempest is bringing to the table over F-35 A ( or future upgraded F35 Block X/F-35D).

Would it be worth exploring an improved version of what Justin Bronk (I know he tends to shill for the US aviation industry, so just using some of the concept from the article) advocated for a while back.

So ditch future manned fighter and buy B-21, a few of whatever the appropriate time frame latest update of F-35 (would the offer be tempting enough for the US to allow us Israel level access?) Then really sink all team tempest’s industry and resources into a whole fleet of future UCAVs with sub variants for appropriate roles, make tempest into an ongoing project providing the latest loyal wingmen in different sizes and capabilities from high to low end? Really try to dominate the market for unmanned in the west?

Personally I’m not sure it would work and I’m sure it’s already been explored but was just curious.
I think it would fail badly on a number of levels.

Firstly the only reason we are seen as a "partner" of the US is because we have an in house alternative. The minute we lose the ability to do it ourselves (which includes equal leadership JV) then we become just another customer, and not a particularly big one.

On Drones, I suspect most of the market is soon to be saturated and commoditised, like the light corvette market, the Protected Patrol Vehicle market, the AR15-compatible small arms market, etc.

I suspect the real trick is linking all those drones / enablers together which is why you need to control the "brain" ie the core platform. That's also where the big industrial spinoffs accrue - in AI, thermal management, materials technology etc

Which is why within the euro-FCAS Dassault conceded everything but the core, they know what they're doing - that's where they pitched their staandard
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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

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I fear that the goals of CCM to be inexpensive and highly autonomous to be mutually exclusive. Software development is the F-35 program's biggest challenge. An unmanned F-35/CMM would exponentially increase that.
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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/air- ... ngman-uavs

I would have thought that loyal wingman integration would be arranged through GCAP. Cost stupidity would be for the UK and Italy to then pay all over again to do it themselves. I would vote against that. I don't want my financial contribution to Tempest squandered!

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

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Spitfire9 wrote: 03 Jan 2024, 14:22 https://www.janes.com/defence-news/air- ... ngman-uavs

I would have thought that loyal wingman integration would be arranged through GCAP. Cost stupidity would be for the UK and Italy to then pay all over again to do it themselves. I would vote against that. I don't want my financial contribution to Tempest squandered!
I suspect this is all part of the worst kept secret that the US, UK, Australia, Italy and Japan are all adopting the production version of Ghost Bat with differing software as required for paring with different platforms.

Maximum bang for everyone's buck!
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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

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mrclark303 wrote: 03 Jan 2024, 17:13
Spitfire9 wrote: 03 Jan 2024, 14:22 https://www.janes.com/defence-news/air- ... ngman-uavs

I would have thought that loyal wingman integration would be arranged through GCAP. Cost stupidity would be for the UK and Italy to then pay all over again to do it themselves. I would vote against that. I don't want my financial contribution to Tempest squandered!
I suspect this is all part of the worst kept secret that the US, UK, Australia, Italy and Japan are all adopting the production version of Ghost Bat with differing software as required for paring with different platforms.

Maximum bang for everyone's buck!
OK, now we're talking sensible business - Japan will be integrating Ghost Bat with Tempest (as I understand it).
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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

Post by SD67 »

It certainly looks that way. On the sidelines there must have been some discussions around division of labor. IMHO it's about time for Australia to have a export defence platform again, after Ikara and Jindivik. Will help solidify support for AUKUS and maybe sell GCAP
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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

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SW1 wrote: 30 Dec 2023, 15:52 Italy have used long range aircraft over a number of years. Tornado, loaned tornado adv, typhoon and now f35a which in particular is a long range aircraft.

Just out of interest how much fuel are people expecting the tempest to be able to carry?
Sufficient for a ROA of 800 to1000 miles, I would surprised at less than the former.

It's going to be a large aircraft.

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Re: Future UK Combat Aircraft (Project Tempest)

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mrclark303 wrote: 04 Jan 2024, 00:16
SW1 wrote: 30 Dec 2023, 15:52 Italy have used long range aircraft over a number of years. Tornado, loaned tornado adv, typhoon and now f35a which in particular is a long range aircraft.

Just out of interest how much fuel are people expecting the tempest to be able to carry?
Sufficient for a ROA of 800 to1000 miles, I would surprised at less than the former.

It's going to be a large aircraft.
F35a already makes it into your 800-1000 mile range in certain configurations.

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