Taranis completes second phase of flight trials

Posted on 16 Jul 2014 by The Manufacturer

Taranis, the unmanned combat air vehicle described as the most advanced aircraft every built in the UK, has successfully completed the second phase of flight testing.

The UK Ministry of Defence (UK MOD) and BAE Systems, who are both overseeing the project, confirmed the aircraft flew in its full stealth configuration – making it virtually invisible to radar.

In order to achieve such a level of stealth, the team changed all antennas on the aircraft to signature control variants and the air data boom on the nose of Taranis was removed.

Following these modifications, the aircraft used a specially-designed system which allowed the aircraft to generate a full set of flight data, without the use of an external probe or boom.

Taranis also used a cutting edge communications system to ensure it was able to stay in touch with its mission commander without giving away its position to the enemy.

Minister for defence equipment, support and technology Philip Dunne said the success of the test flights is an important milestone for the Taranis project.

“We are gaining vital insights into the potential of unmanned aircraft and this knowledge will shape future capabilities and help reduce the risks faced by military personnel on the frontline,” he said.

“I am determined to continue investing in these world-leading projects to show us the future, today.”

Nigel Whitehead, group managing director of BAE Systems added: “The first flight of Taranis last year was a significant milestone for UK aviation and this latest development underlines the UK’ s lead in unmanned air systems.

“The engineering data gathered from the latest phase of trials will help us develop the stealth technologies on Taranis further.”