The company has been working with the UK Ministry of Defence on the FCAS programme since 2012, and on its predecessor FOAS, developing concepts for the next generation of Sensor and Communications technology. As part of the UK Combat Air Strategy, it will ensure that the UK maintains the technological competence necessary to retain military freedom of action. Team Tempest will mature a broad range of technology areas and concepts relevant to a Future Combat Air System; including open mission systems architecture; sensor systems and effectors, power and propulsion and airframe technologies.
Developing world-unique capabilities, establishing mutually beneficial partnerships in targeted technical areas and lowering barriers to collaboration will allow the UK to be in a favourable position for a Next Generation Future Fighter acquisition programme. Aligned to the Combat Air Strategy work, UK Ministry of Defence Head Office will develop potential future acquisition partnerships. Team Tempest will also identify and support the initiation of targeted technical cooperation with governments and industries of these partners where this is of mutual benefit for the parties.
Leonardo is a core partner in Team Tempest unveiled at Farnborough Air Show 2018.
Working alongside the UK Ministry of Defence and the Royal Air Force's Rapid Capability Office, Leonardo, BAE Systems, Rolls Royce and MBDA are developing the technologies for the UK's Future Combat Air Systems.
The four core partners are leading development in the following areas:
- Leonardo – integrated sensors, effectors and communications
- BAE Systems – advanced combat air systems and integration
- Rolls-Royce – advanced power and propulsion systems
- MBDA – weapons systems
In July 2020, seven additional companies (GEUK, GKN, Collins Aerospace, Martin Baker, QinetiQ, Bombardier and Thales UK) joined forces with the four core members to collaborate on established projects and development work.
Leonardo's contribution to Team Tempest
Leonardo will mature the critical technologies to deliver next generation sensing and communications alongside the advanced open-system architectures that will deliver a step-change in how the sensors are employed within an operational system. It will mature the requisite technologies through a systematic approach to feasibility studies, lab tests and rig tests.
Key capabilities planned to be demonstrated include: integrated sensing and defensive aids architectures and information fusion; advanced Electro-Optic/Infra-Red sensor technologies; advanced Multi-Function Radar Frequency sensor technologies; all-aspect broadband Electronic Warfare capabilities; and robust high bandwidth communications. These activities will culminate in the integration of hardware, software and enabling architectures onto a flying test-bed aircraft, providing a clear demonstration of UK leadership and facilitating further development tests on the path to a Next Generation system.