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UFC Tempest

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UFC Tempest
Tempest 14.png
The Tempest FGR.2 configuration. Note the fuselage inlets for conformal fuel tanks and leading-edge root extensions.
Role Fighter-bomber
Manufacturer United Fighters Consortium
First flight 1992
Introduction 2003
Status In service
Primary user Fleet Air Arm
Commonwealth Air Force
Lion's Rock Air Force
Belfrasian Air Force
Latin Air Force
Yisraeli Air Force
Royal Gristo-Serkonan Air Force

The UFC Tempest is a 4.5-generation, multirole fighter-bomber designed by the transnational concern United Fighters Consortium. It was the result of a program of inter-state cooperation in the development of a modern multirole combat aircraft in the 1980's. It was finally rolled out for squadron service in the mid-2000's. The Tempest was designed to be fielded in substantial numbers to form the backbone of the participant states' tactical airpower, replacing multiple previous designs. While a relatively small number of 5th-generation fighter squadrons equipped with the UFC F-29 Hurricane act as a 'silver bullet' force to carry out the most demanding missions, the Tempest will form the bulk of their fighter fleets for decades to come.

As of 2014, the Tempest is fielded in sizeable numbers by the militaries of Arthurista, Belfras, Gristol-Serkonos, the Latin Empire and Lion's Rock. Its extensive employment by the militaries of some of the world's most powerful democracies has garnered it the moniker the 'Right Arm of the Free World'.


The Tempest project aimed to fill the niche of a multirole combat aircraft, able to be deployed in substantial numbers and which can be tasked to perform most tactical mission scenarios. With the new fighter, the designers envisaged using a combination of in-built instability, close-coupled canards and high-thrust engines to produce a supermaneouverable aircraft, together with cutting edge avionics enabling a significant degree of overmatch against legacy fighters, especially when using energy rather than turning-based tactics in WVR combat.

The FGR2 upgrade of the mid-2000s introduced fuselage strakes and leading-edge root extension (LERX), fly-by-optics control, uprated engines and 3D thrust-vectoring, as well as conformal fuel tanks for improved combat radius and payload. The LERX and strakes together increase wing lift by more than 25%, in turn leading to increased turn rate, tighter turning radius and 'pointability' at subsonic and transonic speeds, with an increase of angle of attack values by 45% and roll rates by up to 100%.

Like some modern tactical fighters, the Tempest has considerable short-field capabilities. The canards generate extra lift when taking off, as well as to act as airbrakes when landing. The ability is further enhanced by the engines' thrust reversers and rear drag chute. As such, the Tempest can easily deploy rough landing strips and stretches of highway around 800m in length where airfields are destroyed or rendered too vulnerable to operate fighters from. This emphasis on short-field capability also enabled it to be easily navalised. The carrier variant of the Tempest has a reinforced undercarriage to better withstand the stresses of catapult launch and deck landing.

RCS-reduction features

While not a dedicated stealthy airframe, the Tempest incorporates many RCS-reducing features. Over 80% of the airframe is constructed with carbon-fibre composites or glass reinforced plastic, rather than radar-reflecting metal. Panel joints are painstakingly smoothed over and radar-absorbent coating applied over much of the surfaces. The plane's canards are automatically adjusted by the FCS in such away that their impact on the aircraft's signature on the frontal aspect is minimised. According to Arthuristan Dynamics' marketing materiel its radar-signature is "orders of magnitude" smaller than last-generation fighters of comparable size.

Avionics, electronic warfare and countermeasures

Offensive sensors

The Mark 3 AESA radar, mounted at a tilted angle on a rotating wide field-of-view repositioner

The Tempest FGR2 features the Mark 3 agile beam LPI wide field-of-view AESA radar, replacing the earlier Thaler-Markoni Mark 2 advanced mechanically-scanned set beginning in 2007. Both were further developments of the Blue Vantage radar which equips the Arthuristan Dynamics Fury and the Blue Vixen radar which is used by later versions of the Sea Kestrel.

In relation to the earlier Mark 2, the radar's manufacturer has disclosed that it is able "track" a standard fighter-sized target (RCS = 5m2) at the range of 161 ~ 185 km+. The exact capabilities of the Mark 3 AESA radar has not been disclosed, but is widely understood to be at least 50% greater.

Unlike many similar phased-array radars, which feature a fixed plate, the Mark 3 is tilted at an angle and mounted on a rotary 'wide field-of-view' repositioner. This enables the aircraft to overcome the fixed plate radar's issue with power drop-off at high azimuth and allows the aircraft to track targets and guide missiles towards them at much more acute angles than before, enabling the Tempest pilot to break earlier in a BVRAAM duel and thereby increasing his survivability. UFC marketing materiel claims that the the Mark 3 is capable of detecting a F-29 Hurricane from a distance of 59km, although at what angle this takes place was not disclosed, a crucial omission given that the stealth architecture of modern 5th-generation fighters are optimised to reduce radar signature from certain aspects more than others. Mark 3-equipped FGR2 fighters have defeated Warriors in exercises by catching them 'in the flank'. It also offers considerable improvement in jam-resistance.

The effects of the wide field-of-view radar repositioner

The Tempest's main offensive IR sensor is the nose-mounted AEOTS (Advanced Electro-Optical Targeting System) IRST. It provides long range passive search and tracking in both air-to-air and air-to-ground modes, as well as a range-determination function with an integrated laser range finder. Marketing materiel claim a maximum detection range of 150km in optimal conditions, although 90km is a more realistic figure in the 'real world'. It can track up to 200 targets simultaneously, allowing the pilot to passively cue and engage them with missiles. In the FGR.2, it has been upgraded with Quantum Well Imaging Photodetectors ("QWIP") technology, enabling them to simultaneously image in multiple wavebands, including very long wavebands emitted by cool surfaces. This significantly enhances their ability to detect aircraft designed with IR stealth in mind. It is complemented by the ARBALEST targeting pod for ground strike operations.

Defensive sensors

FGR.2 introduced two early-warning systems. The first, the Hydra Receiver Array, is composed of a network of radar-warning receivers. While primarily intended as a defensive suite, its ability to detect low-powered beams from LPI AESA radars also allows it to be used as a powerful passive sensor with all-round, spherical coverage. This is complemented by the Silver Bow, featuring an array of IR detector apertures and laser warning receivers placed around the fuselage to provide all-round passive surveillance and missile-launch detection capability. Like the upgraded AEOTS, the Silver Bow features QWIP technology. Aside from their defensive function, they can also assist the pilot in acquiring targets through entirely passive means and cue weapons towards these targets.


The BriteCloud DRFM disposable smart radar decoy

The FGR.1 model relied primarily on conventional chaff and flare dispensers to defeat radar- and infrared-guided munitions respectively.

The FGR.2 introduced a number of improvements. The first of these is the ERIS EW Suite. Eris controls the aircraft's phased array radar jammer and, aided by the DASS system, can detect, sample, track and jam radar signals using DRFM technology. This upgrade is aimed at allowing the CAF to retire specialist electronic warfare aircraft such as the Mercury ECR, as well as significantly reducing reliance on expensive 5th-generation fighters to penetrate highly protected airspace defended by integrated air defence systems.

The Mark 3 radar also has an electronic attack mode which can be used to incapacitate hostile radars. The ERIS is effective against low-frequency (VHF/UHF) search radars as well as high frequency fire control radars.

Another new feature of the FGR2 upgrade package was the BriteCloud Digital Radio Frequency Memory (DRFM) jammer, a disposable smart radar decoy device which is a direct replacement of legacy chaff systems, although it makes use of legacy old chaff-dispensing devices. Instead of flares, which are increasingly ineffective against thermal imaging technology, the FGR-2 makes use of a Directional Infrared Counter Measures suite, which utilises infra-red lasers to jam, degrade or destroy the IIR-guidance package on the tip of a missile through its aperture.

Data fusion and pilot ergonomics

The avionics’ ‘data fusion’ capability allows for the presentation of the high volume and complex load of information from all these sensors as a single, easy to use picture projected into the TopSight Helmet Mounted Display, allowing for maximum combat effectiveness and minimal workload for the pilot. The combination of the helmet mounted display and spherical, all-round coverage sensors also allows the pilot to make maximum use of the capability of high off-boresight weapons in close WVR air to air combat. The Tempest is also the first Arthuristan aircraft to make use of a speech recognition module, allowing pilots to control aspects of the aircraft using direct voice input (DVI), increasing reaction speed and decreasing his workload. Pilot ergonomics was also improved through a wide screen HUD capable of displaying a high resolution moving map which, together with the helmet mounted display, allows the pilot to benefit from sensors-fusion to build up a complete picture of his surroundings.


E90+ with thrust vectoring nozzle on display

The Tempest is equipped with two Arthuristan Dynamics E90 turbofans. The original FGR1 model was capable of generating 60kn of dry thrust and 90kn wet. The upgraded E90+, unveiled in 2010 and installed on the FGR2, has been uprated by 20% to 72-103kn. The enhancement in thrust was thought necessary to compensate for the slight increase in drag caused by the adoption of conformal fuel tanks. The E90+ upgrade package also included 4-point thrust-vectoring nozzles, enhancing the aircraft's agility to an ever greater extent. In a test in 2009, a Lion's Rock Air Force Tempest equipped with the original E90 from the FGR.1 configuration supercruised at mach 1.21 with its weapons load in tropical summer conditions.

A further upgrade in engine power of up to 30% more than the original output, to 78kn dry and 120kn with reheat, shall be implemented as part of the FGR.4 upgrade package, slated to commence in 2028.

Networking and communications

A new communications suite, utilising a high speed datalink, is included in the upgrade package to allow for secure uplink with the CAF’s cutting edge stealth fighters through the ARTEMIS battlenet. This not only allows the fighters to share information with other units, but also enable them to share tracking, targeting and other data over the battlenet, allowing them to warn each other of potential dangers immediately after detection by one platform and guide each others' weapons towards their targets.

Carrier operations

A diagram of a Tempest FGR1 showcasing its anti-ship loadout - four ACM-9 Hatchet, three 1,000 litre fuel tanks, four BVRAAMs and two WVRAAMs

There are two slightly different variants of the navalised Sea Tempest. The Sea Tempest-A is a STOBAR fighter, launching from the ski-jump of a light carrier and recovered using arrestor-wires on an angled flight deck. The Sea Tempest-B, intended for full-sized fleet carriers, features a strengthened undercarriage to withstand the stresses of catapult-launching.

FGR.3 and further upgrade

The FGR.3 upgrade program takes place between 2020-2024 among most Tempest operators. The following new or improved features are planned to be included in this package:

  • L-band radar emitters will be added to wing-tip slots. These low frequency sensors are unable to generate the high-resolution needed for fire control purposes. However, they are optimised for the detection of low-RCS aircraft and will add considerable early-warning capability.
  • The datalink system will be upgraded to allow pilots to not only share data with, but actively control flights of UCAVs, such as the NOVA in real time.

A further upgrade package, provisionally named 'FGR.4', is scheduled to commence in around 2028. Amongst the new features to be added are E90++ engines, which has their power boosted to to 78kn dry and 120kn with reheat, 30% more than the output of the original E90.


The Tempest-ECR is an electronic warfare and SEAD version of the Tempest. It was conceived to aid Arthuristan tactical air power in penetrating and countering sophisticated integrated air-defence systems (IADS).

In addition to the RWR system of the standard aircraft, the ECR variant is also equipped with up to five AN/ALQ-99 jamming pod for dedicated multiband jamming capability. It may provide dedicated jamming support to other fighter bombers carrying out SEAD missions. Alternatively, the ECR may be armed with AGM-88 HARM or ALARM anti-radiation missile and ADM-160 MALD decoys to conduct radar suppression missions on its own. The ECR is a two-seat aircraft, crewed by a pilot and an electronic warfare officer.

Specifications (Tempest FGR.2)

Tempest threeview.png
  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 15.96 m
  • Wingspan: 10.95 m
  • Height: 5.28m
  • Wing area: 51.2 m²
  • Empty weight: 11,500 kg
  • Loaded weight: 16,500kg
  • Maximum takeoff weight: 24,000 kg
  • Powerplant: 2 × Rollers Engineering E90+ turbofan with thrust vectoring nozzle, 72kn 'dry' and 103 kn with afterburner each
  • Maximum speed: Mach 2.4
  • Supercruising speed: Mach 1.5
  • Ferry range: 4,000km with three drop tanks, without CFT
  • Combat radius (with 3x 1,000 litre drop tanks, without CFT):
  • Ground attack, lo-lo-lo: 600km
  • Ground attack, hi-lo-hi: 1,400km
  • Air defence with 10 min. loiter: 1,400km
  • Combat radius (with drop tanks and CFT):
  • Ground attack, lo-lo-lo: 900 km
  • Ground attack, hi-lo-hi: 1,800 km
  • Air defence with 10 min. loiter: 1,800 km
  • Service ceiling: 16,800 m
  • Sensors: Mark 3 agile beam LPI AESA radar, Silver Bow DAS system, Advanced Electral-Optical Targeting System (AEOTS) thermal imaging IRST, ARCHER targeting pod, Hydra Receiver Array
  • Countermeasures and Electronic Warfare: Eris EW suite, BriteCloud disposable radar decoy, Directional Infrared Counter Measures System
  • Armaments: 1 x 25mm revolver cannon, 5 x fuselage hardpoints, 8 x underwing hardpoints, up to 8.5 tonnes of munitions