UK Pilots Begin Simulator Flying of Tempest Jet Design Concepts

  • Our Bureau
  • 10:58 AM, August 26, 2020
  • 2803
UK Pilots Begin Simulator Flying of Tempest Jet Design Concepts

The ambitious UK Tempest project is picking up pace with pilots flying simulators with conceptual shapes of the aircraft.

Developed by British engineers, the concepts demonstrate how leading engineers are embracing one of Britain’s biggest engineering challenges for the next decade faster than ever before using a digital approach.

Using the latest digital twin technologies, conceptual shapes for the aircraft have been virtually designed and tested, with high-performance computers able to calculate the aerodynamic performance of different aircraft features and test pilots taking Tempest to the skies from a ground based simulator, the company said in a release Monday.

Once digitally tested, scale models were 3D printed and put through their paces at BAE Systems’ world-class wind tunnel facilities at Warton, Lancashire to physically test the aerodynamic properties of the design under harsh wind speeds of more than twice the speed of sound.  Data from these trials is now being used to refine and shape the final design of the UK’s next combat aircraft, which will be in service by 2035.

Paul Wilde, Head of Airframe Technologies, Tempest said: “The digital twin concept we have developed will be used to design, test and support every single system and structure for Tempest. By taking an entirely digital approach to the challenge the UK Government has set us, we’re transforming the way we work and adding incredible value to the programme.  We can achieve what traditionally would have taken a number of months in a number of days. As a result, we’re working faster for the future and we’re using the virtual environment to create endless opportunities for our engineers to experiment without boundaries, and with open minds – key to the future innovation of the programme.”

UK Pilots Begin Simulator Flying of Tempest Jet Design Concepts

The research forms part of a wider UK-led effort to define the requirements for a future air combat system, and ultimately deliver the most advanced engineering project Britain has ever seen. BAE Systems is working closely with Rolls Royce, Leonardo and MBDA as part of Team Tempest to explore more than sixty technology areas in total, experimenting with different ideas ranging from the physical shape of an aircraft to the sophisticated sensors that will become the brains of a future system.

This digital twin concept underpins the entire engineering lifecycle for Tempest. From initial designs, to manufacture and support, the concept will create an open and agile workspace for those involved on the programme. It has also been adopted in the development of a first of its kind Factory of the Future at Warton in Lancashire which BAE Systems is currently using to demonstrate how the future fighter aircraft could be built. Here, data from intelligent robots, supply chain databases and machines is digitally threaded together to deliver increased efficiency and accuracy in the manufacturing process.

BAE Systems are using data from the trials, combined with research across the programme and together with its Team Tempest partners to contribute towards the development of an Outline Business Case to be considered by the UK Government, which is scheduled to be the next major decision point on commencing the next phase of a Combat Air Acquisition Programme for the UK.

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