Edinburgh engineers develop ground-breaking technology for UK armed forces

Engineers in the Capital are at the forefront of a cutting edge military programme creating new data collection technology for the Royal Air Force’s next generation combat air system.

Pictured: Mark Stead, SVR Radar and Advanced Targeting at Leonardo’s Edinburgh site where cutting edge radar technology is being produced.
Pictured: Mark Stead, SVR Radar and Advanced Targeting at Leonardo’s Edinburgh site where cutting edge radar technology is being produced.

The technology, created by Team Tempest, is expected to deliver significant benefits to the UK over the full lifetime of the programme.

The ambitious military programme will also bring benefits through investment in people, early careers, technology and infrastructure, supporting the economy and long-term prosperity of the nation.

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Engineers in Edinburgh, part of the UK-wide technology and deference partnership, are currently working on futuristic radar, which will capture the equivalent of a large city’s worth of data in a second.

A visualisation of the ground-breaking radar system
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This week new details have been released about the technology which is capable of providing over 10,000 times more data than existing systems equivalent to the internet traffic of a large city such as Edinburgh, every second.

When complete the new technology will be able to deliver unparalleled data processing capability equivalent to nine hours of HD video or the internet traffic of a large city every second.

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This huge volume of information, processed on-board, will give Tempest the edge due to its ability to locate and target threats.

The brand new sensor called the ‘Multi-Function Radio Frequency System’, will provide a wide range of abilities beyond traditional radar, with all-digital technology providing the operator with an exceptionally clear view of their surroundings.

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Leonardo has already built complete sub-systems using the new technology and successfully tested them at the Company’s site in Edinburgh, with a path to airborne demonstrations in the coming years.

The Team Tempest partnership is made up of hundreds of high-tech companies across the UK, as well as SMEs and different academics. Also involved are; BAE Systems, Leonardo, MBDA, Rolls-Royce and the RAF.

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In July 2020 seven further companies signed agreements to progress opportunities to work on future combat air concepts and underpinning technologies across Team Tempest including Bombardier Belfast, Collins Aerospace in the UK, GE Aviation UK, GKN Aerospace, Martin-Baker, QinetiQ, and Thales UK.

Director of Major Air Programmes at Leonardo in the UK, Iain Bancroft said: “The collaborative relationship between Team Tempest and our network of academic and SME partners enables us to bring together the ‘best of the best’ engineering talent from across the UK.

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“Crucially, we are embracing new ways of working as an integrated team to dramatically improve efficiency and pace – sharing intelligence and refining our concepts digitally to deliver innovations that will shape the next generation combat air system.

“Our new radar technology is a concrete example of the gains this approach has already brought, costing 25 per cent less to develop while providing over 10,000 times more data than existing systems.”

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