skip to main content

Tempest demonstrator testing gets under way

Work to test elements of the Tempest demonstrator is now under way, including sled testing of the aircraft's ejector seat system. (BAE Systems)

Testing of components and systems intended for the Tempest Future Combat Air System (FCAS) Flying Technology Demonstrator (FTD) is accelerating at BAE Systems' Warton site and at the facilities of partners companies around the UK.

Work on the demonstrator was announced in July 2022 by UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, with a declaration of intent for it to fly “within five years”.

Industry executives and senior Royal Air Force (RAF) officers working on the demonstrator told Janes and other defence media on 13 June that a big element of this early effort was to prove the validity of the digital models being used in its development. This is seen as a key component in the drive to ensure production of Tempest for the RAF can begin by 2035.

Already, 10 BAE Systems and RAF pilots have flown 170 hours during 125 sorties in a bespoke test and evaluation flight simulator in 5 Hangar at Warton using early versions of the aircraft flight control systems (FCS), according to Neil Strang, BAE Systems Tempest programme lead. The aim is to eventually link the flight simulator with test rigs for the air vehicle's major components and subsystems. BAE Systems executives called this a “hybrid” facility because it links live testing of hardware with digital modelling of component and systems performance. Engineers are using auto-coding techniques to make changes to FCS software in a matter of days rather than weeks, said Strang.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...