The £124 million ($247m) BAE Systems-led Taranis UAV technology demonstrator programme has now reached design finalisation. Cutting metal for Taranis is now due to begin in November with assembly starting before the end of the year, ahead of ground testing in early 2009 and first flight trials taking place in 2010.
Taranis is part of the UK MoD strategic unmanned air vehicle experiment (SUAVE) programme to explore and demonstrate how emerging technologies can be best harnessed for the future of the UK armed forces. BAE Systems is industrial lead and prime contractor for Taranis, with partners being QinetiQ, Rolls-Royce and GE Aviation, the former Smiths Aerospace.

Chris Allam, BAE Systems’ Taranis project director, says: “What we have designed is a system that can autonomously control the aircraft to taxi, take off, and navigate its way to a search area while reacting to any threats or other events. It will then route its way around the search area in whichever way it wants to, locate the target, and then use its sensor system to transmit a series of images and views back to the operator to confirm it is the target to be attacked.”

Source: Flight Daily News