Taranis advances

The UK has broken its silence over the Taranis – a classified unmanned combat air system, that lead contractor BAE Systems has been flight testing since August, and that graces our cover this week (11-17 February). Although the existence of the aircraft was no secret - it was rolled out at BAE’s site in Warton over three years ago – the Royal Air Force has said little or nothing about its progress, until last week. Craig Hoyle was at the press conference and reports on the present state and likely future of the programme.

Our other big story concerns the future of the 747-8 with stuttering orders for the reborn jumbo leaving Boeing banking on a resurgence of the cargo market to sustain the programme. Elsewhere, we reveal that Seattle is considering a freighter conversion of the 737NG and 777 as these fleets reach a suitable age for modification.

Jon Hemmerdinger writes about Lockheed Martin’s new civilian version of the C-130J Super Hercules, which the manufacturer hopes to have certificated by 2017. And Craig Hoyle examines the state of the RAF’s Voyager programme half way through its scheduled delivery of 14 modified Airbus A330s as tankers.

The issue also includes a bumper Training and Development Guide with features on the future of pilot training and a directory of training providers.

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