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The RAF has unveiled its latest weapon in the fight to protect the crucial Kajaki dam in southern Afghanistan.
The unmanned Mantis killer ‘drone’ aircraft will guard supply pylons in the area where last week British troops carried out a daring mission to install a 200-ton turbine.
Designed to fly thousands of miles and last up to 30 hours without refuelling, the Mantis – which is the size of a small lorry – will carry Brimstone air-to-ground tank-busting missiles and GBU laser-guided bombs.
Taranis is led by BAE Systems and also involves Rolls-Royce, GE Aviation Systems, QinetiQ and the Ministry of Defence. BAE Systems has overall design leadership as well as providing stealth technology, flight testing and control equipment. QinetiQ is responsible for UCAV flight autonomy and GE Aviation Systems provides electrical subsystems. The aircraft will use a Rolls-Royce Adour MK951 turbofan.
BAE Systems said "Taranis will make use of at least 10 years of research and development into low observables, systems integration, control infrastructure and full autonomy. It follows the completion of risk reduction activities to ensure the mix of technologies, materials and systems used are robust enough for the 'next logical step'." These "risk reduction activities" were related BAE programmes including Replica, Nightjar I, Nightjar II, Kestrel, Corax, Raven and HERTI. BAE Systems Australia will have a workshare of about 5% in the programme. The Taranis demonstrator will have an MTOW of about 8000 kilograms and be of a similar size to the BAE Hawk. The first steel was cut in September 2007 and assembly began in February 2008 . Ground testing will start in early 2009 and the first flight of the Taranis is planned for the first quarter of 2010. The demonstrator will have two internal weapons bays. With the inclusion of "full autonomy" the intention is thus for this platform to be able to "think for itself" for a large part of the mission.
Originally posted by Zepherian
The military of the UK is currently fighting not one, but two unjust wars. I think my skepticism of your claims is warranted.
Originally posted by stumason
reply to post by jpm1602
They usually have a ground control station, either in a building or large truck of some sort. The reapers have two operators, a "pilot" and a sensor operator, so I would imagine the control on these new ones is similiar.