For­mula E rac­ing tech set to ‘elec­trify’ Tem­pest stealth fighter pro­ject

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - Alan Tovey By

STEALTH fighter pro­gramme Tem­pest is turn­ing to mo­tor­sport to help “elec­trify” its jets.

The scheme to de­velop a new stealth fighter for the UK and part­ner na­tions will call upon bat­tery tech­nol­ogy used in For­mula-E rac­ing from Wil­liams Ad­vanced Engi­neer­ing to help make the air­craft faster and more pow­er­ful. BAE

Sys­tems, one of the lead­ing com­pa­nies in Tem­pest, is work­ing with the mo­tor­sport ex­pert to see how its sys­tems to cool and man­age power from bat­ter­ies in rac­ing cars can be adapted for the new air­craft, which could be in ser­vice with the RAF in 2035.

David Holmes, BAE di­rec­tor of man­u­fac­tur­ing, said: “Weight im­pacts all parts of air­craft per­for­mance so hav­ing light­weight bat­ter­ies from mo­tor­sport means you can go faster, have a longer range and be more ag­ile.”

Tem­pest is also look­ing at equipping the jets with “di­rected en­ergy weapons” – po­ten­tially lasers – which will re­quire im­mense amounts of power and cool­ing.

Tra­di­tional gen­er­a­tors might not be able to gen­er­ate enough power quickly enough, so bat­ter­ies could make up any short­fall. So far the UK, Swe­den and Italy have signed up to Tem­pest. Rolls-Royce, Leonardo and MBDA are man­u­fac­tur­ing part­ners along­side BAE.

The Min­istry of De­fence and in­dus­try have com­mit­ted £2bn so far and have about 1,800 peo­ple work­ing on the pro­ject.

They are due to de­liver to de­liver an “out­line busi­ness case” for the fighter to the MOD at the end of this year. It will take another five years to nar­row down ex­actly what is ex­pected from the air­craft. If the pro­ject gets the green light from gov­ern­ments, pro­duc­tion could last a decade and the air­craft could be in ser­vice be­yond 2060.

Bri­tain’s £6bn-a-year com­bat air­craft in­dus­try pro­vides 18,000 jobs. Ac­cord­ing to BAE, it is re­spon­si­ble for 85pc of de­fence ex­ports and de­liv­ers £900m a year in taxes.

A con­cept model of the Tem­pest, the UK’s fu­ture com­bat air­craft, on the run­way at BAE Sys­tems’ site in Lan­cashire, the pro­ject hop­ing to har­ness the ex­per­tise of mo­tor­sport

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