The real life Lancashire Top Guns

Video report by Correspondent Mel Barham:

BAE Systems in Warton, Lancashire is currently part of a team designing the new fighter jet of the future.

As part of Team Tempest, the next generation combat aircraft is due to join the fleet of the RAF from 2035.

But before that can happen, it needs to be designed.

Tempest is the new combat aircraft due to join the RAF fleet from 2035 Credit: PA

And Team Tempest are currently in the process of working out what cutting edge technology to include in the cockpit.

And that's where this trial comes in.

The team at Warton are looking into whether body haptics could be a useful tool for pilots.

Haptics technology, which is currently used in gaming, stimulates the senses of touch and motion.

For the trial, they are using haptic vests which vibrate in different areas of the body to give physical cues to the wearer.

Haptic vests are widely used in gaming, but BAE Systems are looking into whether haptics could be useful in future combat aircraft Credit: ITV News

Haptics could prove useful in a stressful cockpit environment because they act as another cue for the user, that physical touch acting a bit like someone tapping you on the shoulder to warn you about something.

Jack Lennon, Human Factors Engineer at BAE Systems, explains it is a different way of alerting the user to important messages.

"Traditionally we would use just a standard audio cue like an alarm, to make you aware of certain things that happen on the aircraft, or information you need to know about outside the aircraft.

"But this here is kind of a different channel because it's the touch sensation rather than the auditory channel. And we know that the first channel you lose in high stress or high workload environments is that auditory thing that gets blocked out and so tapping into that kind of touch sensation might break through to the user more than just using an audio cue."

As part of the trial by BAE Systems, correspondent Mel Barham was sent up in a light aircraft to test the use of body haptics Credit: ITV News

John Stocker, BAE Systems Business Development Director, explains that the future fighter jet pilot is likely going to have to process even more information, potentially more than a human brain can cope with, which is why they're looking at cutting edge technology that could potentially aid the pilot in the cockpit.

Our correspondent Mel Barham was invited to be a genuine participant in the trial.

To test the technology, Mel is asked to wear the haptic vest whilst also trying to complete two separate tasks on a couple of tablets.

Intermittently they play either an audio alarm in the ear - or the haptic vest vibrates.

But the haptic vest vibrates in a different part of the body each time, giving extra help to the participant in the task.

And to make things more difficult, she has to complete the task not only flying in a straight line, but also a second time whilst experiencing 2G forces from a 60 degree banking turn in the plane.

What they will be looking at, is whether the audio alarm or the haptic vest has any effect in the performance of those tasks.

Our correspondent got to grips with the equipment and even managed to tell us how it works mid-air

It may look like just a bit of fun, but this is actually going to form part of BAE's analysis into whether haptic technology could be used in the new Tempest fighter plane.