The UK's delayed Taranis unmanned combat air system demonstrator is close to performing its first flight, lead contractor BAE Systems has confirmed.
"Preparation has been made for the flight trials of Taranis, which is due to fly in the second half of the year," the UK company says in a half-year trading update released on 1 August. The stealthy air vehicle is believed to have been transported to the Woomera test range in South Australia earlier this year from BAE's Warton production facility in Lancashire, northwest England.
Revealed in July 2010 under a demonstration effort worth at least £140 million ($212 million), the UK's lone Taranis aircraft had originally been expected to make its flight debut before the end of 2011. Radar cross-section testing with the Rolls-Royce Turbomeca Adour-engined platform was completed at Warton in mid-2012.