LONDON, (BM) – Britain’s Rolls Royce, world’s second largest manufacturer of aircraft engines, has announced that it has begun development of engines for the country’s Tempest sixth generation fighter program, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
Britain’s BAE Systems announced the development of the Tempest fighter in 2018, which is expected to provide a replacement for the Eurofighter Typhoon and a portion of the F-35B fleet from the early-mid 2030s. The extremely ambitious program is one of many next generation fighter programs currently underway, with the American F-X, Air Dominance Fighter and Penetrating Counter Air Fighter all expected to enter service before it and see their first flights before 2030.
Rolls Royce has previously manufactured engines for a number of British fighters, including the Eurojet EJ200 powering the Eurofighter and the Spey used on F-4K Phantoms.
Rolls Royce has had some experience developing high performance engines for fifth generation fighters with the F136 program, pursued jointly with America’s General Electric, although this program was cancelled in favour of the Pratt and Whitney F135.
Britain’s ability to develop engines to a sixth generation standard remains highly questionable, with its Eurojet EJ200 which entered service in 2003 considered several decades behind – and with the U.S. and Soviet Union both having developed similarly capable engines decades prior during the Cold War.
Britain has sought to gain support for the Tempest program by partially merging it with the Japanese F-3 program, although Tokyo has since come under considerable American pressure to partner with an American firm for its sixth generation fighter program rather than with BAE Systems.
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Source: Military Watch Magazine