BAE begins work on new combat air vehicle
Samlesbury, UK , October 8, 2007
BAE Systems has started work on the physical build of the Taranis airframe - a £124 million ($253.2 million) unmanned combat aerial vehicle project.
Named after the Celtic God of Thunder, Taranis will help inform the UK Ministry of Defence's (MOD) approach to the future capabilities needed for deep target attack and intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR), said a BAE official.
About the size of a BAE Systems Hawk, it will have low observable features and autonomous systems which will allow it to think for itself for much of its mission.
Ground testing of Taranis is scheduled to begin in early 2009, with the first flight trials due to take place in 2010. The programme brings together a number of technologies, capabilities and systems to produce a UCAV technology demonstrator based around a fully autonomous intelligent system.
The 'first metal cut' on the new airframe took place at BAE Systems' manufacturing facility in Samlesbury, Lancashire, this month. Taranis is part of the UK Government's Strategic Unmanned Air Vehicle (Experiment), or SUAV(E).
The UK MOD's team leader for the programme, Jonathan Barrett, joined the managing director of Autonomous Systems and Future Capability for BAE Systems, Mark Kane in the Lancashire facility to commission the start of the machining process.
'This programme is not just about positioning UK industry and putting the UK on the map with cutting edge technology; it is also about informing the basis of the potential future Royal Air Force and our future potential capability,' said Barrett.
BAE Systems is the industry lead on the Taranis technology demonstration programme working together with Rolls-Royce, QinetiQ and the Systems division of GE Aviation (formerly Smiths Aerospace) as well as a range of UK-based suppliers.Trade Arabia News Service