Leonardo claims to have obtained the world’s first military certification for a rotary-wing tactical UAS in the 200kg weight class.
Tempest technologies make headway, industry team claims
Team Tempest industry partners BAE Systems, Leonardo, MBDA and Rolls-Royce on 15 October announced progress on various technologies for the future UK RAF combat air system.
Leonardo UK is developing a new radar called the Multi-Function Radio Frequency System, which it stated can deliver more than 10,000 times more data (equivalent to nine hours of HD video per second) with onboard processing than existing systems.
The company has already built complete sub-systems using the new technology and successfully tested them at its Edinburgh facility.
For its part, BAE Systems announced that flight tests have begun of ‘cutting-edge concepts’ for wearable cockpit technologies (pictured), developed with support from MBDA UK. These replace conventional physical controls with AR and VR displays projected directly inside the visor of a helmet, which can be instantly configured to suit any mission.
Concepts including human-autonomy teaming are also being developed, where a ‘virtual co-pilot’ could take on some of the pilot’s responsibilities. BAE Systems noted that the virtual co-pilot concept is still being developed, but could take the form of an avatar built into the cockpit to interact with the pilot.
BAE Systems test pilots are also trialling psycho-physiological technologies such as eye-tracking in controlled test flight conditions in a Typhoon aircraft, to study aircrew physical and cognitive processes.
Meanwhile, advanced combustion system technology is being developed by Rolls-Royce for Tempest. Engineers have explored the use of advanced composite materials and additive manufacturing as part of this work, producing lightweight, more power-dense components capable of operating at high temperatures.
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