We're striving for the pinnacle of UK engineering and aeronautical design with the concept aircraft Taranis.
The aim of the Taranis concept is to see if a stealthy unmanned aircraft capable of striking targets (with a human operator in the loop) with real precision at long range is possible.
What the project will definitely achieve is to add to the understanding of strategic Unmanned Combat Aircraft Systems (UCAS), through the demonstration of relevant technologies and their integration into a representative Unmanned Air Vehicle system (UAV).
And this groundbreaking work will give the UK MOD a wealth of evidence on the potential capabilities of this class of Unmanned Air Vehicle. This will help it make decisions on the future mix of manned and unmanned fast jet aircraft.
Named after the Celtic God of Thunder, Taranis will explore and demonstrate how emerging technologies and systems can deliver battle-winning capabilities for the UK Armed Forces incorporating both an autonomous and survivable Unmanned Air Vehicle System (UAV) concept design. Any future in-service systems based on such a concept design will be under the command of highly skilled ground based operators who will also be able to remotely pilot the aircraft.
About the size of a BAE Systems Hawk Jet, Taranis is jointly funded by the UK MOD and UK industry and is managed by the UK MOD’s Unmanned Air Systems Project Team in the Defence Equipment and Support Organisation based in Bristol. Taranis was formally unveiled at a ceremony in July 2010. Initial ground testing commenced in 2010.
BAE Systems formed a teaming arrangement combining Rolls-Royce, the Systems division of GE Aviation (formerly Smiths Aerospace) and QinetiQ to work alongside UK MOD military staff and scientists to develop and fly Taranis.
BAE Systems, as prime contractor, will provide many elements of the Taranis technology demonstrator, including the low observability, systems integration, control infrastructure and full autonomy elements (in partnership with QinetiQ).
In addition to the existing industry partners, the project has also engaged a significant number of other UK suppliers who will provide supporting technology and components.