The Tempest is expected to be more capable, more flexible, and more lethal than the F-35. The Tempest will be a 6th generation aircraft and the F-35 is a 5th generation aircraft. It will also have other advantages over earlier models of unmanned combat aircraft such as greater range, speed, and endurance.
The Tempest is designed to be capable of both manned and unmanned operations, according to its creator BAE Systems.
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said that it will decide whether or not it will proceed with the project by 2020.
The aircraft can be outfitted with both defensive and offensive capabilities, though details remain scarce.
The aircraft is a multi-role aircraft and will be able to fly with or without a pilot. It has the advanced avionics and sensors necessary for performing stealth operations and electronic warfare, as well as for providing data about enemy activities on the ground.
It will also have advanced weapons capabilities, including both defensive and offensive systems. Specific details about these capabilities remain sparse, but we do know that they will include an ability to engage targets from all altitudes ranging from low level up into outer space (where such targets exist).
If it can enter service as soon as 2035, the Tempest will be one of the most advanced aircraft in history. It’s expected that the Tempest will quickly replace Eurofighter Typhoon fighters currently used by many NATO countries, including Germany and Italy.
The UK is likely to be one of the first countries to deploy a fleet of Tempests once they come online—and they’ll probably make good use of them against Russia if Moscow decides to invade another neighbor (like Ukraine).
While several nations have expressed interest in the Tempest, it will likely be fielded primarily by the UK. The United Kingdom is the only nation to have invested in the Tempest, having already ordered two squadrons. Additionally, no other country has made any concrete plans regarding fielding this aircraft type.
The Tempest’s laser cannon could take out an incoming missile from 10 miles away, instead of the 1-mile range at which a Sidewinder missile would have to be fired to intercept it. In addition, lasers may well be more effective than conventional weapons in combat situations against stealth aircraft because they are harder for defenses to detect and counter. For example, if a pilot flies through clouds or darkness into enemy territory and encounters hostile aircraft, lasers will allow him or her to immediately engage those targets with no need for search and tracking systems that may give away their position.
Furthermore, while traditional guns require large magazines of ammunition (and eventually run out), a laser cannon only requires power—and that means fewer logistical issues when traveling long distances on patrol missions over enemy territory where resupply might not be possible due to bad weather conditions (as we’ve seen in Syria).
The Tempest is a game-changer and will be the first aircraft ever capable of launching and landing vertically. The implications would be enormous, both for military and commercial aviation. The Navy hopes that the new technology will allow them to operate from smaller carriers, which means fewer ships in their fleet will need to be built at great expense.
The Tempest is also set to have a much longer range than any other fighter jet currently flying—it could fly almost twice as far on one tank of fuel than F-22 Raptors or F-35 Joint Strike Fighters (JSF) can today—and will come with cutting edge avionics, sensors and weapons systems that could pave the way for even more advanced fighters down the road:
The Tempest, or T-70, is a remarkable plane. Despite being a matter of debate whether it was successful or not, the aircraft and its performance really cannot be underestimated. Even today, it compares well to advanced modern aircraft, and would likely surpass many wartime designs that have been in operation for 60 years. The Tempest was even dubbed as possibly the most effective fighter ever designed by the British, and that is no small feat. The future of aerial combat may very well still see the Tempest, or something like it, prowling the skies in many years to come.