UK to invite India to co-develop the sixth-generation Tempest fighter aircraft - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Stuff.

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Thursday, 7 February 2019

UK to invite India to co-develop the sixth-generation Tempest fighter aircraft

A mock-up of the Tempest sixth-gen fighter at the Farnborough Air Show last year (courtesy Reuters)

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 8th Feb 19

After having spurned Moscow’s proposal to jointly develop a fifth-generation fighter aircraft, the Indian Air Force (IAF) will be invited this month by the UK to co-develop a sixth-generation fighter called the Tempest. 

Business Standard learns that a UK delegation, including ministry of defence (MoD) officials and executives from British defence giant BAE Systems, who will arrive on February 18 for the Aero India 2019 exhibition in Bengaluru, will brief Indian MoD and IAF officials and gauge the potential for collaboration.

We are looking for international partners to access the best assured capability [for developing the Tempest],” said Nik Khanna, who heads BAE Systems India.

The Tempest fighter will be targeted to enter service around 2035-2040, when the earliest Eurofighter Typhoons – in service in the UK, German, Italian, Spanish, Saudi Arabian and Omani air forces – start to retire. Tempest was first unveiled as a concept fighter at the Farnborough Air Show in the UK last summer.

The Tempest’s configuration and capabilities are still being worked out. Under discussion are questions like whether it will be manned or remotely piloted, whether it will have a variable cycle engine and be capable of “directed energy” attacks, using weapons like laser beams; whether it will control drones for “swarm attacks”, and incorporate artificial intelligence and deep learning. 

The only thing that seems clear is that the sixth-generation Tempest will be technologically far more advanced than current fifth-generation fighters like the F-22, F-35, J-20 and J-31.

The so-called “Team Tempest”, which will develop this futuristic fighter, includes, besides BAE Systems as the lead integrator, Rolls-Royce for the engines, Leonardo UK for sensors and MBDA UK for missile systems. 

In addition to these, the UK believes other international partners, such as India, will be essential. Officials in “Team Tempest” say international partners will be chosen based on four parameters: a large military that will buy more aircraft; a large defence budget to pay development costs; industrial capability to play a useful development role; and powerful international influence to support the alliance.

Asked what role India could play in developing such an advanced fighter, Khanna said: “A big cost driver for a futuristic aerospace system is going to be the requirement for more and more software engineers. India has a huge capability in that area.”

This search for foreign partners for “Team Tempest” comes at a time of decline for British defence industry. On Thursday, Financial Times cited a new report by research firm HIS Markit that finds “Britain is set to become a net importer of defence equipment for the first time since the civil war in the mid-17thcentury.”

To reverse this trend, the UK has unveiled a “Combat Air Strategy” that undergirds the Tempest announcement. BAE Systems sources say this is a Britishstatement of intent to retain its century-old leading role in the field of aerial combat, including nurturing aerospace industry as a key component of that.

In Farnborough, the UK government had announced a two billion pound investment into British aerospace industry, to create capabilities that would support the Tempest programme. It was hoped that this high profile announcement of an iconic programme would inspire young engineers to work in this sector. It was also hoped that this would encourage investments into the British aerospace sector.

“The UK combat air sector is a national asset. Not just the Royal Air Force, but also the industry that underpins that, creating 18,000 skilled jobs as well,” said a source in the UK MoD.

Asked whether India would be able to shape the configuration of the Tempest fighter, Khanna stated: “We are committed to engaging with potential international partners at the very start of the program so we can ensure that any system is designed with all partners’ interests in mind, as opposed to developing a system that is purely for the UK.”



10 comments:

  1. Will tata F16 EXPERIENCE ALONG WITH TCS JOIN the group and leapfrog technologies. Quantum and deep learning will be common in ten years time.

    Can india absorb cutting edge technologies and create the eco system in 2040

    ReplyDelete
  2. By the time HAL delivers the AMCA a fifth gen fighter, the world will have moved on to a sixth gen fighter.

    This is a great opportunity which we should not miss. Most nations have given up on 5th gen fighters and are focusing solely on 6th gen. These are mostly European countries in NATO. HAL will only roll out the AMCA during the time period when the Tempest project is scheduled to be completed. Assuming the Tempest project is delayed by around 10 years which usually happens during aircraft development, we can estimate that we will start getting the fighter by around 2045-2050. This works out great as we will be looking to retire the Su 30's during this period. This does not mean we should stop development on the AMCA. If the Air Force decides to go with a 3 fighter plan(which I really hope they do) now I hope they reduce it to 2 in the future. With the bulk of the force comprised of Desi AMCA's and the higher end of the force comprised of the Tempest. Around this time all Tejas, Rafales and Sukhoi's should be retired.

    Decades long planning and foresight is required here and I hope the higher ups in the IAF and MOD are striving to achieve all this.

    ReplyDelete
  3. As the Brits look to find relevance from the shambles that is Brexit which will considerably diminish them, is this an opportune time for India to ask for their seat in the UN Security Council?
    The UK is aware of the very expensive disruptive technologies that will come on line in fifteen years, they cannot join the French German consortium for the next futuristic fighter, so in addition to India they need to to rope in the second world importer of arms Saudi Arabia - along with Turkey, this will give them a market just large enough for the huge development costs for this futuristic aircraft.
    This should be an opportunity for HAL to work with innovative companies like Rolls Royce and BAE systems in exchange for the billions of dollars which the UK will expect as the Indian contribution to the Tempest project.
    In an ideal equal partnership situation, India insists technology is transferred and foreign engineering teams conduct research and development alongside India's brightest engineers, but this has not happened in the past.
    Our inadvertent procurement bureaucrats and the chowkidar government ensured token partnerships, India has been a cash cow!
    India does not have an adequate future combat air strategy, so before committing our billions, CAS may well need to start studies on what our requirements will be in 2035. We need to spend on our own technological solutions, in absence of which we will invariably accept modified solutions (developed for the RAF) by default.
    Indian requirements, can be flexibility in weapons load and long range twin engine aircraft against China. Discussions are needed in the IAF if it’s main 2035 year aircraft, should fly pilotless as a drone, with artificial intelligence. Will India need Technology that can assist to neutralise the enemy’s nuclear capabilities, like aircraft with swarm drones or hypersonic weapons?
    Our policy to encourage private capital to create India's own defense industrial complex has been painfully slow. But from time to time the public reads encouraging stories about individual companies in this blog.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow. We provide software coolies. Give them a few billion USD.
    Get to attend wine and cheese parties.

    Why were Britain not allowed to participate in Franco German effort ?

    ReplyDelete
  5. first we must learn to make good quality 4th gen fighter jets then we can dream of 5th and then 6th gen fighters. a student (Ex: HAL) that has failed all throughout if we given double promotion will lead to disaster all around! what base does India have in aircraft design? the software thing will be only back end support, not the source code. UK needs big bucks and obviously any country that can fund will be more than welcome. this partnership is not going to happen because of our short sighted politicians.

    ReplyDelete
  6. NSR says ---

    They took two decades to sell the old technology Hawk Trainer Jet...

    They refused to participate and dropped out of upgraded the Jaguar engine so it became single vendor situation and created present trouble...

    They stopped spares for all the aircrafts and helicopters after Nuclear testing which left the aircraft carriers without clothes and arms...

    So I am not sure if it is a good idea at all for India unless they start designing the aircraft from ground level in computer and share all the technology equally without any Proprietary technology walls...

    Best if India pushes hard on Tejas MkIA, Tejas MKII, and two F-414 engine version of AMCA until Indian engine comes into the stream...

    ReplyDelete
  7. India has already been invited to join Dassault and Airbus for their 6th gen. fighter.
    Tempest is NOTHING ELSE than the BAe/McDonnell Douglas "Replica" project which was rejected from the ATF competition where YF-22 and YF-23 were shortlisted.
    This is 5th gen aircraft : Tempest has tails :
    https://ukdj.imgix.net/a28eaaec23e27bb401427295c7d66b0a_/RS79875_Team-Tempest-Future-Combat-Air-System-concept-infographic-2-lpr.jpg
    While neither the Dassault/Airbus :
    http://www.opex360.com/wp-content/uploads/scaf-20180710-2.jpg
    nor the Boeing projects will :
    https://i.ytimg.com/vi/Xqi_5GRRYMY/hqdefault.jpg
    Tempest is a 5th gen. aircraft, just like F-22, F-35, Su-57, J-20, J-31 or Rafale.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "Anonymous said...
    NSR says --- They took two decades to sell the old technology Hawk Trainer Jet...They refused to participate and dropped out of upgraded the Jaguar engine so it became single vendor situation and created present trouble...They stopped spares for all the aircrafts and helicopters after Nuclear testing which left the aircraft carriers without clothes and arms.../...Best if India pushes hard on Tejas MkIA, Tejas MKII, and two F-414 engine version of AMCA until Indian engine comes into the stream...

    => DRDO already approved the M88/Kaveri K9+ proposed by Thales, a 110-115kN is at work for AMCA... The Indian engine is on the stream. This is absolutely part of the Rafale's contract offset. M88/K9+ will be tested in Tejas in 2019.
    Considering the small size/weight of M88 comparing to F414, no need for a Tejas Mk2 since it will make enough room for more inner fuel.

    ReplyDelete
  9. +++ " Anonymous Anonymous said...
    As the Brits look to find relevance from the shambles that is Brexit which will considerably diminish them, is this an opportune time for India to ask for their seat in the UN Security Council?
    The UK is aware of the very expensive disruptive technologies that will come on line in fifteen years, they cannot join the French German consortium for the next futuristic fighter..."

    => Actually, BAe wants to participate in the Dassault/Airbus project, BUT...
    BAe wasn't far from torpedoing the Concorde... BTW, the original Concorde was supposed to have 144 sats, just like the Tu-144 copy. Brits imposed the 100 seats
    When it comes to Dassault, they torpedoed :
    The AFVG then... did the Tornado using technologies stolen from Dassault.
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/84/AFVG.jpg
    Then... Dassault was supposed to lead the Eurfighter team. BAe organised a "coup" to push the French out. Result? Typhoon being overexpensive and using a 1972 design, the MBB TKF90 :
    https://www.aviationsmilitaires.net/media/pictures/MBB_TKF-90_x0qYseU.jpg
    Then, same mess with the
    BAE Systems/Dassault Telemos (UCAV).
    More recently, BAe has put the brakes on the FCAS UCAV :
    http://www.paxaquitania.fr/2016/03/deux-milliards-deuros-pour-le-futur.html

    BAe was already part of the Horizon-class of stealth frigates... Then lobbied to do their Type 45 amlone, w.o. France and Italy. In result, it was supposed to be a class of 22 ships : 12 for UK, 6 for Italy, 4 for France,France and Italy could only purchase 2. Brits were supposed to do 12 Type 45 alone, but cost ended doubled, so UK ended with 6 frigates...
    Then same stuff with the aircraft carriers : French spent €200M in R&D to design them, 3 were supposed to be built, the 3rd of each made in France, the 2 thirds in UK... Then UK decided to fully make them, so pushing Naval group out...
    Each ship was to cost €2B built this way... UK ended spending €9.4B for the two.
    Nevertheless, Naval Group came with the project to be led alone to French govt, with an €2.3B price but since budgets were tight, it was impossible to put more than €2B on the table...

    Now, better be aware : ANY TIME you work with BAe, this is what you'll get :
    - Project beyond schedule.
    - Overpriced.
    - Won't reach the specifications.
    - Briberies scandal.
    - Backstabbing of partners.

    You've been warned.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think India should kept developing own fighter and IAF also says AMCA is 5.5 generation aircraft India also will modified into 6th generation along with DRDO AURA

    ReplyDelete

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