United Kingdom Great Britain has long hatched plans to build its own 6th generation Tempest fighter. At the same time, until recently, London seeks to maintain the status of one of the key partners of the United States in the fighter program - the stealth F-35. But will the British authorities manage to combine the two goals?: the purchase of a large number of new American aircraft and the development of its own sixth generation fighter?
In March 2021 of the year, the UK Department of Defense in a special report to the country's parliament confirmed, that the sixth generation Tempest fighter is one of the top priorities for government procurement in the defense sector in the coming decades.
Also the document emphasizes, that when creating the Tempest aircraft, it will be the British industrial infrastructure that will be used. After all, one of the goals is to create a sixth generation aviation enterprise based in the UK., fully digital, capable of transforming production and delivery processes.
Promising British fighter, how the developers calculate, will have its own sensor system, four times more accurate, than existing sensors. It is planned and created conditions for the use of Tempest as an air command and control center, which could transfer part of the information received by the sensors to friendly units, coordinating their actions. BAE Systems, working on a project, considers the prospects of using artificial intelligence in the sixth generation fighter.
A separate issue is the armament of a promising fighter. Italian Aviation General Enzo Vecciarelli at a seminar on missile defense, held in Rome, suggested, that a promising sixth generation British fighter will be armed with directed energy weapons to combat hypersonic missiles. Previously reported, that Tempest will be able to carry hypersonic missiles on its own, and also manage a swarm of drones.
Beyond Britain, Italy and Sweden participate in Tempest. Also in London, they are considering the prospects of attracting Japan to the project., also interested in purchasing a 6th generation fighter in the future. The importance of foreign partners is determined by the need to secure financing for the project, which has a very high cost.
It is the cost that is the main problem in the development and creation of the sixth generation Tempest fighter.. Now in front of London, in fact, worth the choice: continue and further develop the program of creating its own sixth generation fighter, to meet the announced deadline before 2035 of the year, or purchase a large number of F-35 jets from the United States.
As Mark Episkopos of The National Interest writes, the fate of the F-35 procurement currently hangs in the balance. Earlier in London they expected to acquire 138 5th generation Lockheed Martin jets. But so far, the British side has ordered only 48 fighter F-35.
clear, that the British War Department is in no hurry to acquire fifth generation American fighters, and the revision of procurement plans is associated solely with its own ambitious Tempest project and the desire to save money on its development by refusing to buy American fighters.
But, on the other hand, Tempest has not yet been created and we have been working on it for years 10, not less, and the F-35 is already here and now, and can be used by the British Air Force immediately after purchase.