Ministry of Defence unveils unmanned combat aircraft prototype

Taranis to test possibility of delivering the first ever autonomous stealthy Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) have unveiled Taranis, a prototype unmanned combat aircraft of the future, with flight trials due in 2011.

The concept demonstrator will test the possibility of developing the first ever autonomous stealthy Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle that would ultimately be capable of precisely striking targets at long range, even in another continent.

Taranis is an informal partnership of the UK MoD and industry talents including BAE Systems, Rolls Royce, QinetiQ and GE Aviation.

It will provide the UK MoD with critical knowledge on the technical and manufacturing challenges and the potential capabilities of Unmanned Combat Air Systems.

Nigel Whitehead, Group managing director of BAE Systems' Programmes & Support business, said: "Taranis has been three and a half years in the making."

"It represents a significant step forward in this country's fast-jet capability. This technology is key to sustaining a strong industrial base and to maintain the UK's leading position as a centre for engineering excellence and innovation."

Further information:

Ministry of Defence

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