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UK’s Taranis stealthy UAV unveiled

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July 12, 2010

The Taranis UCAV is unveiled this week in the UK

The Taranis UCAV is unveiled this week in the UK

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A prototype of England’s Taranis Unmanned Combat Aircraft System (UCAS) that we first covered back in 2006 has been unveiled for the first time by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD). Three and a half years in the making and the product of more than a million man-hours the concept demonstrator is designed to test the possibility of developing the first ever autonomous stealthy UCAV that would ultimately be capable of precisely striking targets at long range, even on another continent.

Named after the Celtic god of thunder, Taranis will be one of the world’s largest UAVs at about the size of a BAE Systems Hawk Jet. The aircraft will provide the UK MoD with experimental evidence on the potential capabilities of this class of UAV and help inform decisions on the future mix of manned and unmanned fast jet aircraft.

The demonstrator will have two internal weapons bays and, with the inclusion of “full autonomy,” the intention is for the craft to “think for itself” for a large part of any mission. However, BAE Systems says that should such systems enter into service, they will at all times be under the control of highly trained military crews on the ground who will also be able to remotely pilot the aircraft.

The Taranis project is an informal partnership of the UK MoD and industry partners including Rolls Royce, QinetiQ, GE Aviation and BAE Systems which is responsible for the project’s overall design leadership as well as providing stealth technology, flight testing and control equipment.

Speaking at the unveiling ceremony this week 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.”

Initial ground-based testing commenced this year with the craft’s first flight expected to take place in 2011 on successful conclusion of the ground-based testing. However, on January 9, 2009 the MoD was forced to deny the Taranis had been flying near the site of a smashed wind turbine in Lincolnshire after locals claimed to have seen a UFO. Conspiracy theorists feel free to draw your own conclusions.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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5 Comments

This, the boeing X-47, and the french Neuron, all with exception to the front 1/4 of the aircraft look the same to me, are they legitimately sharing information or, are the yanks lazy, like they were with the Miles M-52 and the Bell X-1.

Facebook User
13th July, 2010 @ 04:29 am PDT

Too many engineers have been watching Stealth. This is Tin Man.

Yusuf Khan
13th July, 2010 @ 08:55 am PDT

LOl yanks being lazy ? More like the brits :p

America has been on the forefront of stealth technology more Than amy other nation , The rest of the world is 20 years behind the usa stealth technology

We are Allies so i,m sure tech is being shared between both countries

nOv1c3
13th July, 2010 @ 01:24 pm PDT

nOv1c3 -

Nicely put - once again america is broadcasting its vast intellect to the world.

Facebook User
13th July, 2010 @ 10:35 pm PDT

The Germans created stealth. Rubber tiles on German subs in WW2 were the first 'stealth' subs as the rubber absorbed the sonar, The germans created the first tailless aircraft to, an arado design, National Geographic/Discovery channel, got Northrop Grumman to build a replica of the plane and tested it.

Facebook User
14th July, 2010 @ 04:37 am PDT
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