Seventy years ago, the greatest military operation in history was launched as the Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy to liberate Nazi-occupied Europe in what history recalls as D-Day. We’re used to seeing newsreel images of marines and infantrymen rushing from landing craft in the face of the German guns, but overhead there was another war raging as men in fragile aircraft risked their lives to capture vital images of the battle’s progress. As part of the 70th-anniversary commemoration, RAF Tornado jets from II (Army Co-operation) Squadron (II (AC) Sqn) recreated that historic D-Day recon mission over Normandy, giving us a glimpse of how far aerial reconnaissance has come in three generations.
The UK's Ministry of Defence (MoD) and BAE Systems this week announced details of last year's first test flight of the Taranis unmanned combat demonstrator aircraft, which BAE bills as the "most advanced aircraft ever built by British engineers." The 15-minute test flight took place at an undisclosed location outside of the UK on August 10, 2013 as part of a project to show the UK’s ability to create a unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) capable of surveillance, targeting, intelligence gathering, deterrence, and strikes in hostile territory.