BAE Systems will complete the first software release for its Taranis unmanned combat air vehicle demonstrator within four months and cut metal for the airframe during September, the company says. BAE has also disclosed the responsibilities to be handed to its Australian business unit under the more than £120 million ($235 million) project.

BAE Systems Australia will develop the demonstrator's triplex flight management system, says Julia Sutcliffe, the company's UAV research leader, with its involvement to be worth around A$15 million ($12.1 million). It will also develop navigation, guidance and control systems and a ground control station, as well as producing a training simulator and supporting integration and trials activities, she says.

Power on of the Taranis UCAV will be achieved in late 2008 before ground testing in 2009 and first flight at Australia's Woomera range during 2010.

Source: Flight International