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Taranis
Model of Taranis on Display at Farnborough Airshow 2008
Role Autonomus UAV
Manufacturer BAE Systems
Primary user United Kingdom

The BAE Systems Taranis is a British demonstrator programme for Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) technology. It is part of the UK's Strategic Unmanned Air Vehicle (Experimental) programme (SUAV[E]). BAE describes Taranis's role in this context as following: "This £124m four year programme is part of the UK Government’s Strategic Unmanned Air Vehicle Experiment (SUAVE) and will result in a UCAV demonstrator with fully integrated autonomous systems and low observable features." Taranis is named after the Celtic god of thunder.

Contents

Design and development

Taranis is led by BAE Systems and also involves Rolls-Royce, GE Aviation Systems, QinetiQ and the Ministry of Defence.[1] BAE Systems has overall design leadership as well as providing stealth technology, flight testing and control equipment. QinetiQ is responsible for UCAV flight autonomy and GE Aviation Systems provides electrical subsystems. The aircraft is expected to use a Rolls-Royce Adour Mk.951 turbofan.[2]

BAE Systems said "Taranis will make use of at least 10 years of research and development into low observables, systems integration, control infrastructure and full autonomy. It follows the completion of risk reduction activities to ensure the mix of technologies, materials and systems used are robust enough for the 'next logical step'."[1] These "risk reduction activities" were related BAE programmes including Replica, Nightjar I, Nightjar II, Kestrel, Corax, Raven and HERTI. BAE Systems Australia will have a workshare of about 5% in the programme. The Taranis demonstrator will have an MTOW of about 8,000 kilograms and be of a similar size to the BAE Hawk. The first steel was cut in September 2007 and assembly began in February 2008 [3]. Ground testing will start in early 2009 and the first flight of the Taranis is planned for the first quarter of 2010.[4] On the 9th of January 2009 the MoD denied the Taranis had been flying near the site of a smashed wind turbine, after local people claimed to have seen a UFO.[5]

The demonstrator will have two internal weapons bays.[2] With the inclusion of "full autonomy" the intention is thus for this platform to be able to "think for itself" for a large part of the mission.

The development of UAVs was a key part of the UK's Defence Industrial Strategy announced in December 2005, particularly the ability of the UK to maintain its "sovereign" aircraft and UAV/UCAV skills.[1][6]

Specifications

References

See also

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