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Is it a plane, is a drone? Plane of the future on show at RA…

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The Tempest fighter jet is set to replace the RAF’s Typhoon and is being developed by BAE Systems, Leonardo, MBDA and Rolls Royce.

A prototype is on display for a fortnight in the RAF Museum at Cosford.

Students from RAF Cosford are among those who have visited to see the Tempest.

Wing commander Jamie Thompson, officer commanding of No1 Radio school said: “I was able to brief some of our students on sixth generation aircraft capabilities and the future direction of air power.”

The jet itself will be either be flown traditionally by pilots or as a drone and the Ministry of Defence says that it hopes the Tempest will be flying by 2035, alongside the RAF’s fleet of F-35Bs.

BAE Systems, has outlined what key features will be in the Tempest.

Sensors

It says the payload-range, speed and manoeuvrability will be key for the Tempest and that the system will be equipped with a range of sensors including radio frequency, active and passive electro-optical sensors and advanced electronic support measures to detect and intercept threats.

The aircraft is likely to operate with kinetic and non-kinetic weapons and that the use of Laser Directed Energy Weapons for self-defence and combat within visual range is also highly likely.

Technology on board the Tempest will also be able to provide a number of different modes for unmanned operations, such as being controlled like a drone, as well as being able to aid a pilot while flying.

The manufacturer says this can “enhance survivability, availability, cyber resilience and tactical options”.

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