ENTERTAINMENT

The RAF's new £ 2 billion fighter aircraft will have its own "virtual assistant on board".


The virtual top cannons: New fighter planes are flown by the on-board computer when the RAF pilot is stressed

  • The new BAE Tempest can be flown by a pilot or by a computer co-pilot.
  • The high-tech jet is slated to enter service by 2035 after a £ 2 billion investment
  • According to BAE, the operator could be "overloaded" by the available data
  • The pilot of the advanced jet receives virtual support to help him if necessary

RAF pilots who fly the next generation of fighter jets can rely on a "virtual assistant" if they get into trouble, engineers said yesterday.

The Tempest fighter aircraft is slated to enter service by 2035 and can be flown by humans or the computer co-pilot.

By analyzing data from smartwatches, heart rate monitors and other technologies, the aircraft can determine whether the pilot is “stressed or overloaded”. In this case, the aircraft's systems would step in and help.

The RAF and BAE are developing a new aircraft, the Tempest, which will have a computer-assisted assistant to assist the pilot (artist's impression).

The RAF believes the new aircraft could enter service by 2035 after the government allocated £ 2 billion to the project

The RAF believes the new aircraft could enter service by 2035 after the government allocated £ 2 billion to the project

Some of the work will be carried out at BAE's Future Factory in Warton, Lancashire. The government has allocated £ 2 billion to the Tempest project by 2025

Some of the work will be carried out at BAE's Future Factory in Warton, Lancashire. The government has allocated £ 2 billion to the Tempest project by 2025

"Going forward, we expect the battlefield to be much busier and more congested than it is now," said Suzy Broadbent of BAE, who is part of a consortium that is developing the aircraft. "There is a possibility that the operator will be overloaded with all available information."

She said the virtual assistant could take the form of a screen-based avatar or a Twitter-style information feed. "We can do that in this next generation by starting to examine things in virtual reality using standard technologies," she added.

The aircraft is being developed by Team Tempest, a technology and defense partnership that includes BAE Systems, Leonardo, MBDA, Rolls-Royce and the RAF.

Hundreds of high-tech companies and academic institutions also take part.

The radar technology is so sophisticated that it can process the equivalent of nine hours of HD video per second.

BAE has also tested "psychophysiological" technologies for its test pilots flying typhoon planes. By tracking eyes and other physical behavior, they hope to better understand the level of exertion and stress.

Some of the work will be carried out at BAE's Future Factory in Warton, Lancashire. The government has allocated £ 2 billion to the Tempest project by 2025.

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