Leonardo demonstrates radar sensing concept for Tempest

Leonardo UK Concept Demonstration for Team Tempest

Leonardo UK has demonstrated the performance of new radar receiver/warner technology as part of the UK-led Team Tempest programme

The demonstration was conducted in a laboratory for the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) and other programme partners. The new radar receiver/warner reportedly demonstrated a direction-finding performance four times greater than that of typical RWRs. Leonardo stated that the new system "is just 1/10th of the size of standard" equipment.

Leonardo UK's role in Team Tempest is to develop and integrate the sensor package for the platform's mission system. During this recent demonstration, the company focused on radar warning. This technology senses the radio frequency (RF) signals emitted by potentially hostile radars and then employs this information for a variety of uses, including warning an operator that an enemy is trying to ‘lock on’ to their aircraft. This system can also support combat identification and intelligence gathering.

Tempest Radar Concept Art

In the press release, Leonardo UK said: "In future, threat radars are likely to use a range of technologies and software techniques to make it harder to identify their signals, meaning that Tempest’s sensors will need to be sophisticated enough to be able to counter such techniques and flexible enough to be updated in response to new technologies as they emerge on the battlefield."

The smaller sized radar receiver/warner system employed by Leonardo UK in this recent demonstration is lighter and requires less power than current, standard systems. Leonardo UK suggests it is possible for the sensor to be integrated into a multifunction array. 

"This concept, one of a number of innovative ideas being considered for Tempest, could see a number of multi-purpose sensors spread around the aircraft, simultaneously sensing and tracking enemy aircraft, incoming missiles and other threats from all directions, while being fully integrated with a forward-facing radar", the company added.

Tempest - BAE Systems
BAE Systems

Team Tempest is a UK MOD-led programme to produce a future combat air system (FCAS) by 2035. Leonardo UK was one of the founding members of the consortium, which has since been joined by Italy and Sweden, who announced their intentions to partner on the project in mid-2019. 

Development towards the Tempest platform is already proceeding quickly, working to its schedule of getting examples into Royal Air Force (RAF) service in 2035 – a timeline Leonardo UK describes as “ambitious". 

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