LONDON — A mockup of the first third or so of the multi-national Tempest sixth-generation jet fighter jutted out on the floor of the DSEI conference in London. The flags of four nations hung above the fake cockpit — the United Kingdom, Sweden, Italy and Japan.
Next to it, a small-scale model of the Tempest, followed by two unmanned jet models “flying” in formation, sat in the center of the program’s massive booth at the exhibition. But the mockup and models were at best an educated guess as to what the Tempest might look like. Officials at a panel discussion held next to the booth said they were several years away from finalizing the design of the future fighter. Three years after the program was announced at the Farnborough International Airshow, the program is still in the conceptual stage, and will remain so until 2025.