Tempest TELEPATHY: Groundbreaking tech will allow fighter jet to read pilots’ minds

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Tempest TELEPATHY: Groundbreaking tech will allow fighter jet to read pilots’ minds 1

If all goes to plan, Tempest, the sixth-generation fighter jet which would replace the ageing Typhoon or Eurofighter, will be deployed by the RAF by the mid-2030s. The state-of-the-art plane, which is being developed by the UK in conjunction with Sweden, will be equipped with laser and hypersonic weapons, and will be accompanied into battle by a mini squadron of semi-autonomous drone-like “wingmen”. And Suzy Broadbent, BAE Systems’ Human Factors Lead, said she and her colleagues were also working on a method whereby the craft would be able to tune into the brain signals of pilots – and respond accordingly.

The experimental research involves electroencephalogram (EEG) caps fitted under the helmet, which track brain wave patterns of test subjects.

As a result, during flight simulations conducted in the confines of the lab, scientists are able to monitor when pilots are getting overloaded or stressed.

She added: “At the moment it’s very much subjective opinion – it’s up to the pilot what they think is going on and data is captured in a debrief session afterwards.”

Data gathered in such a way would allow pilots to devote their attention to crucial tasks, but could also help in a crisis, for example, if he or she missed an alarm or alert.

Ms Broadbent added: “The machine could either take over, or present the information to you in a different way, or hand control back to somebody on the ground.”

BAE Systems is also looking at methods for detecting hypoxia, a hazardous condition whereby a pilot can black out as a result of a lack of oxygen to the brain – although Ms Broadbent stressed “everything has to go through the ethics committee”.

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He told Express.co.uk: “It’s very exciting and all very realistic, the drone swarms, the directed energy, all of it.

“This is not a replacement for current aircraft – this is about how we imagine air power being deployed in the future.”

Team Tempest, the partnership tasked with turning it into a reality, consists of four industrial partners – BAE Systems, the UK arm of Leonardo, MBDA Missile Systems, and Rolls Royce – along with the RAF and the Ministry of Defence.

Mr Everitt added: “It’s the first time ever this sort of partnership has been pulled together.

“It’s really important as a way of doing things in the future.

“I think the general feeling is that everything’s been going really well over the course of the last year.

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