The UK has delayed the first flight of its Taranis unmanned combat air system technology demonstrator until "the first part of 2013", according to lead company BAE Systems.

Revealed in July 2010 under a project worth £140 million ($220 million), the stealthy Taranis has recently completed a series of radar cross-section (RCS) pole tests performed at BAE's Warton site in Lancashire, says Tom Fillingham, director of future combat air systems for its Military Air & Information business unit.

Taranis - BAE Systems 

BAE Systems

Speaking at Warton on 19 June, Fillingham said data from the RCS test work is still being assessed by the UK Ministry of Defence and its Defence Science & Technology Laboratory, but that "the results are very promising".

BAE and its industry partners on the Taranis project have conducted a considerable amount of test and development work in the last two years, he says, also including successful engine intake integration trials conducted at Rolls-Royce's Filton site in Bristol.

Meanwhile, BAE is expected to receive a roughly £15 million contract around next month's Farnborough air show to study technology requirements linked to a proposed Anglo-French future combat air system design. Its unmanned systems partner Dassault will also receive an award of similar value to conduct work under the project. The bilateral effort is expected to draw on the pair's current experience with developing and preparing to fly their respective Taranis and Neuron UCAS demonstrators.

Source: Flight International