Warton, United Kingdom; A prototype unmanned combat aircraft of the future, Taranis, has been unveiled by the UK Ministry of Defence for the first time today.
Named after the Celtic god of thunder, the concept demonstrator will test the possibility of developing the first ever autonomous stealthy Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) that would ultimately be capable of precisely striking targets at long range, even in another continent.
Should such systems enter into service, they will at all times be under the control of highly trained military crews on the ground.
Speaking at the unveiling ceremony at BAE Systems in Warton, Lancashire, Minister for International Security Strategy Gerald Howarth said: “Taranis is a truly trailblazing project. The first of its kind in the UK, it reflects the best of our nation’s advanced design and technology skills and is a leading programme on the global stage.”
Representing the pinnacle of UK engineering and aeronautical design, Taranis is an informal partnership of the UK MoD and industry talents including BAE Systems, Rolls Royce, QinetiQ and GE Aviation.
Speaking on behalf of the industry team, Nigel Whitehead, Group managing director of BAE Systems’ Programmes & Support business, said: “Taranis has been three and a half years in the making and is the product of more than a million man-hours. 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.”
The Taranis prototype will provide the UK MoD with critical knowledge on the technical and manufacturing challenges and the potential capabilities of Unmanned Combat Air Systems.
Flight trials are due in 2011.
For further information, please contact:
Sqn Ldr Bruno Wood at UK Ministry of Defence Press Office
Tel: +44 (0) 207 218 1534, Mob: +4 (0) 7919 305864
Tim Foreman at the DE&S Press Office
Mob: +44 (0) 7990 506591
Adam Morrison, BAE Systems
Tel: + 44 (0)1772 852714 Mob: + 44 (0)7525 390393
Leonie Foster, BAE Systems plc
Tel: +44 (0) 1252 383777 Mob: +44 (0) 7540 630168
BAE Systems, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 6YU, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1252 384719 Fax: +44 (0) 1252 383947
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