The UK’s first fleet of uncrewed fighter aircraft is one step closer to reality following the award of a £30 million contract to design and manufacture a prototype in a three-year deal supporting more than 100 jobs in Belfast.

According to the Royal Air Force, the uncrewed combat aircraft will be designed to fly at high-speed alongside fighter jets, armed with missiles, surveillance and electronic warfare technology to provide a battle-winning advantage over hostile forces.

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“Known as a ‘loyal wingman’, these aircraft will be the first uncrewed platforms able to target and shoot down enemy aircraft and intercept surface to air missiles.
In a boost for Northern Ireland’s defence industry, Spirit AeroSystems have been selected to lead Team MOSQUITO in the next phase of the project.”

Team MOSQUITO, which also includes Northrop Grumman UK, will mature the designs and manufacture a technology demonstrator to generate evidence for a follow-on LANCA programme. If successful, Project Mosquito’s findings could lead to this revolutionary capability being deployed alongside the Typhoon and F-35 Lightning jets by the end of the decade.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, Chief of the Air Staff said:

“We’re taking a revolutionary approach, looking at a game-changing mix of swarming drones and uncrewed fighter aircraft like Mosquito, alongside piloted fighters like Tempest, that will transform the combat battlespace in a way not seen since the advent of the jet age.”

A full-scale vehicle flight-test programme is expected by the end of 2023.

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Gunbuster

Mosquito

Excellent choice for a project name. They swarm, they just keep on coming, knock em down and more take their place, and they are really annoying!

And its also a good shout towards the legendary fighter bomber from WW2 as well.

4th watch

Been waiting for that illustrious name to be used again. Better be good.

Ian M.

Ironic, isn’t it? The Whitehall “drones” buying more? Still, if the designers can make them work they’re a force multiplier all right!

John Clark

Couldn’t the Australian loyal wingmen design be adopted for licence production? Seems like we are about to chuck away money reinventing the wheel here, I would cut a corner here to keep maximum money and effort for the Tempest platform itself. It would be a good opportunity to further and deepen our defence ties after the success of T26. A wider question, I assume, for all the talk of collaboration with France on such high tech aviation projects 10 years ago, can we assume Anglo French cooperation in this area is now dead and buried? It’s such a shame that… Read more »

Robert Blay

Maybe we have different requirements to the Australian system. How many would moan we can’t produce our own in house developed loyal wingman capability. It’s good for our own industry and jobs, and for developing future systems in this area.

Bloke down the pub

Too much to hope that Mosquito will be carrier capable?

Robert Blay

Depends on the requirement. I’m sure the RN/RAF will be all over it.

John Clark

Highly unlikely, carrier capability would massively complicate the design and put the unit price through the roof…

Supportive Bloke

Maybe: but the tech might be transplantable into another platform?

As someone else pointed out further down the thread the Turks have allegedly got a UAV that can fly off their Canberra class effort so that airframe should work on a QEC.

Ron5

On the contrary, highly likely. RN has programs underway looking at launch and recovery to the QE’s.

ETH

What programs are those, if you don’t mind?

Supportive Bloke

Loyal wingman is effectively Gen1.

Also we do have the know how and ability to make a whole fighter jet: which AUS doesn’t. We can currently make most of the complicated bits in the UK: Typhoon (lots of), F35 (specific manufactures bits), Harrier (parts for USMC), wings for all sorts of aircraft.

We have our own sovereign airborne radar and avionics capabilities.

There may be commonality with AUS: it may be that we see things very differently.

Who knows until there is some flesh on the bones?

JohnN

Whilst we haven’t designed and built a combat aircraft here in Oz for many many decades, for many reasons too, It doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of technical knowledge involved in this project.

Boeing Australia (the largest Boeing operation outside of the US), Boeing Phantom Works Australia, BAE Systems Australia, are all major players in the project here.

I’m sure they have access to all that is required from their parent organisations when required too.

Supportive Bloke

I’m not trying to diminish AUS tech and capabilities which are very good.

I wish we had the AUS Hunter factory approach here in the UK.

However, there is a big difference in designing the whole thing and making most of it.

I forgot the other bit which is RR so we do sovereign propulsion as well.

Watcherzero

Boeing Australia is mainly a commercial office, they do have a couple of subsidaries that do aerostructures mainteanance and reconditioning too, and I think they manufacture wing flaps.

JohnN

Mate, sorry but you are wrong.

There are 3000 Boeing Australia employees across all sectors, approx 2000 of the employees are involved with Boeing Defence Australia:

https://www.boeing.com.au/boeing-in-australia/subsidiaries/boeing-defence-australia.page

Cheers,

Watcherzero

That link shows almost zero manufacturing activity amongst their operations.

4th watch

Are you calling them Wirraways?

JohnN

No word yet what they might be named, it will probably end up being an Aboriginal name, same as a lot of previous local aircraft designs.

Just have to wait and see.

Robert Blay

Yeah exactly, I’m sure we will end up with a very capable system, as you pointed out, we have all the technical capability in this country.

John Clark

I’m all for in house development when applicable, but as Tempest will be a ‘system of systems’, I would rather keep core project money focused on the manned platform and engage with a collaborative effort with the Australians re the loyal wingman.

As has been correctly pointed out though, politics comes into play here re Northern Ireland and as Sydney Camm always said, ” there are four forces at work with military aircraft, thrust, lift, drag and politics”!

Always the way, projects get steadily dragged off course due to regional political considerations, Tempest will be no different….

Spyinthesky

As I state above this will be intimately linked into Tempest so much tech will be interchangeable and compatible with close liaison between them whatever comes out of both. At this stage I am not convinced trying to tie the Australian project into it would be efficient or particularly cost effective the whole performance, stealth considerations, sensors communications and more of this loyal wingman will need to work seamlessly with Tempest otherwise Tempest itself will have limitations set upon its operational parameters whatever its strict capabilities are in and of itself. Another big issue in that regard would therefore be… Read more »

Alabama boy

I hope the MOD/RAF don’t cock it up again by trying to over specify it and finish with another outdated solution as it needs lots of bespoke development which just compromises basic capability and takes years longer to develop as the investment funds just are not available. I know the RAAF and RAF are in regular discussion on areas of common interest with common equipment I hope this is another one.

Pablo

Bang for buck should be considered. Australia bought into type 26 why not go loyal wingman? Other opportunities abound with Australia developing sovereign missile capabilities that the UK could join. Brexit is now a reality, why not schmooze up to commonwealth partners – Oz & Canada et al?

4th watch

The French are the French. Always want to be Primus inter Pares if you know what I mean. Difficult to live with that, unless its been officially accorded them.

Dave Wolfy

AFVG springs to mind.

Spyinthesky

I think it would have been a good idea had we initiated it together (strange that wasn’t considered) but to simply buy whatever product they have produced with Boeing would be short sighted: 1) as we have found with other drone acquisitions the Australian requirements can be very different to our own though that in itself may not be a deal breaker it’s probably a bit late to take our needs into the overall design parameters. 2) We have to look ahead here, and this technology is going to be eventually the biggest military aviation market sector at some stage,… Read more »

Ian

£30 million wasted here….. does anyone really think we will get a return on this investment in 3 years……

Robert Blay

Yes. £30 Million is for developing a prototype, not a complete operational system. First you need to design the flying vehicle, all the fancy systems will come later.

Steve

I think we all know this won’t lead to anything in service, and we will end up buying off the shelf US drones. The question is whether the research will bring other advantages over time, such as using on other tech or money through patents.

DMJ

Why three years? That’s an unfeasibly short time, bearing in mind that R&D has to come first, then production capability.

Nathan

Everyone is moving towards the iPhone model of development. Big bang developments quickly get superseded. We can get something down now, with an open architecture and we can continuously improve it without too much hassle – I think that’s the plan anyway.

Spyinthesky

At least someone understands how it works these days, it’s changed massively in recent years, the Australian example has been developed extremely quickly, because design CAD technology and especially 3D printing allows for extremely quick prototyping now to create the basic vehicle (hell the US are claiming a new stealth 6th gen fighter prototype in under 5 years not that I believe that). However taking it all to a finished in service machine is an entirely different matter and this 3 year contract reflects that staged reality.

Supportive Bloke

It is a different world from wind tunnel testing, with smoke blown in, to running an early incremental computer simulation to (now) running dynamic interactive simulations.

You can then 3D print most of it, at least for prototype stages.

Given you don’t have the safety considerations for a test pilot you can “Move fast and break things”

Can we actually test fly the prototypes anywhere near where we can manufacture them?

ChariotRider

Drones are a rapidly maturing technology. Pulling together the various ‘bits’ into a complete system is not trival obviously, but many of the building blocks are already in place e.g. collision avoidance systems.

I also suspect that the company may have been doing development work with internal and external funding below the media radar. Reading between the lines this contract appears to be building on that initial level of work so I would suggest that there is has already been a few years of R&D undertaken.

Cheers CR

expat

Yes the tread in no agile, get something working quickly then add capability. It fly early fail early and prevent expensive mistakes later in the program.

Supportive Bloke

Move fast and break things. Springs to mind.

Although need to avoid the other tech aphorism

Fake it until you make it!

Spyinthesky

Indeed this is not just starting now it’s just an official announcement of taking the work to a complete prototype based on all that previous work.

Steve Martin

Bear in mind we also still have any and all data gathered from the Taranis tests.

maurice10

Great news for F35 and possibly Typhoon, though they talk here about Tempest, and in combination with Mini Cruise, this is very encouraging for UK defence companies.

ChariotRider

Hi maurice10,

I agree with you it would be a very good way to significantly increase the Typhoon force’s capability and F35 when shore based. Not sure what would need to happen to enable these drones to fly off the carriers, though.

I find the focus on Tempest encouraging as it suggests a lot of high level support for the project.

Cheers CR

maurice10

Hello Chariotrider, the ghost of TSR2 still lingers, especially as the Tempest programme is virtually all British. This new Mosquito and the Mini Cruise could revolutionise how the RAF functions in the future? We could possibly see fewer manned fighters and greatly increased fleets of remote aircraft. The only issue with such developments, is the total viability of manufacturing manned aircraft? Maybe all future manned fighters will be sourced from just one or two global manufactures? One cautionary note, if that becomes the way forward, could the UK be one of the suppliers? We once dominated the aero industry and… Read more »

Mark F

I thought Loyal wingman was a Boeing concept for the RAAF it certainly looks similar to the prototype being test in Australia, are we being Chinese and reverse engineering this drone? 🥴

Robert Blay

Yes. £30 Million is for developing a prototype, not a complete operational system. First you need to design the flying vehicle, all the fancy systems will come later.

Spyinthesky

Absolutely so

Robert Blay

Sorry. My reply was for Ian above. Finger trouble 😄

Spyinthesky

I think it’s an imaginary drawing based on current thinking on the subject just as Tempest renderings,dummies are ideas based on some long standing aerodynamic thinking on next stage aerodynamics. Of course we only know current thinking when it’s already potentially yesterday’s so most of these designs tend to have similarities superficially.

JohnN

Interesting news. As an Australian it’s a bit of a pity the UK appears not to be joining our Loyal Wingman program. Our respective air forces will be operating F-35, E-7A and P-8A, why not the same Loyal Wingman too? We’re procuring our version of T26 to be built here in Oz, but each ship will contain UK sourced equipment, the same could also apply to a joint Loyal Wingman procurement. You would think with the UK having left the EU, building stronger defence industrial relationships would also lead to more two way General trade between our two nations. Anyway,… Read more »

Waddi

Spirit Aerostructures was originally part of Boeing and just makes the hard structures. It has no aircraft design, UAV skills or avionics etc. operations. This announcement makes no comment of who is designing and manufacturing all of these crucial elements. The lack of any apparent BAE involvement and the use of Spirit suggests that Boeing might be heavily involved and thus commonality with the Aussie programme on that basis is therefore highly likely.

JohnN

BAE Systems Australia is one of the mayor contributors to the joint Boeing Australia /RAAF Loyal Wingman project.

https://www.baesystems.com/en-aus/article/loyal-wingman-milestone-welcomed-by-bae-systems-australia

Cheers,

Ron5

Spirit is in a consortium with Northrop Grumman UK & Callen Lenz called Team Dark Dawn and was competing with Boeing for this contact. Boeing lost.

BB85

That’s interesting. I think Spirits operations in Belfast is basically what bombardier sold off isn’t it? They have not had a huge involvement in military contracts for a long time so interesting to see new ownership diversify the Belfast portfolio. After airbus and BAE its probably the third largest aircraft manufacturer in the UK.

Last edited 1 month ago by BB85
Nathan

I don’t know. I think we’d all like to have seen a bit more joined up thinking in this domain. Would make good sense to have partnered with Australia. I am wondering though if the problem is a reliance on Boeing? Perhaps we are trying to build a more sovereign capability independent of the US in this regard. Tempest needs to be sufficiently European and not dependent on US technology to be a marketable alternative to French, German and Spanish offerings as well as future US products. Just a thought.

JohnN

As I mentioned above, BAE Systems Australia is a major contributor to the Australian project.

https://www.baesystems.com/en-aus/article/loyal-wingman-milestone-welcomed-by-bae-systems-australia

Cheers,

Paul.P

No offence intended to Australia. My take is that having left the EU the United Kingdom is now having to address the existential threat from the SNP and Sinn Fein. Brexit border bureaucracy has encouraged the forces of separation. Babcock’s investment in Rosyth, H&W resurrection by InfraStrata and Navantia and the choice of Spirit in NI for a sovereign ‘loyal wingman’ are very likely HMG sponsored and supported projects intended to shore up support for the Union. And as other posters have pointed out we do have the full portfolio of skills necessary to design and build a good product.… Read more »

Joe16

While I don’t disagree that both the SNP and Sinn Fein can be considered a threat to the union, I would also consider this same move from another angle: The UK government has an obligation to encourage/develop industry and jobs for all corners of the union, not just look after the needs of London’s financial sector. Defence is a great way of doing this. I appreciate that Scotland sees a lot of naval investment, and I’ve no problem with that (I just wish the SNP would stop pretending that they don’t..), but Northern Ireland in general has been desperately in… Read more »

Paul.P

Indeed, for me the issue is the return on mindset which I think governs centrally taken decisions. If you do your capital investment justification by considering only its effect on exchequer tax income then you invest your money in London and the South East…until you choke the area to death: a divisive and unsustainable longterm strategy.
What you should do is invest in national infrastructure and people and then have faith. A motorway is nearing construction which will put the people of Derry less than an hour from jobs in Belfast. Better late than never I suppose.

RobW

I think the simple answer to your question is that these will be built and designed to work with Tempest rather than the F35Bs which will be mainly carrier operated. There are rumours of an ‘A’ variant buy, but that seems unlikely given budget constraints.

So as it will likely be a wingman to Tempest it would be better to build it with that in mind ourselves.

Supportive Bloke

There is also the issue that with Tempest we will own all of the software and so we will be able to interface it as we please.

Whereas with F35 we are limited in what we are allowed to do.

So it might be that we actually have our UK wingman connected to Tempest and Typhoon and but not F35. Which is another reason not to buy F35A.

Don’t know anything special: just speculating. Sometimes the decisional factors are simply the most obvious things.

RobW

Indeed. It actually makes no sense at all to try and design something to work with Tempest and F35. I cannot imagine for second that we will buy the F35A either, enough ‘B’s for the carriers yes, but ‘A’s for the RAF not a chance. Tempest and its loyal wing men are the RAF’s future.

John Clark

I agree John, I think it’s a missed opportunity to collaborate with our Australian cousins….

Spyinthesky

Missed opportunity I agree but far too late now other than certain systems and non critical tech I suspect especially as a different US company is involved in this compared to the Oz version. That’s a bit of a statement in itself on this issue I reckon. Boeing may just be paying for its effective dismantling of Shorts and the NI Connection here just might be the pointer to not wanting to reward them.

Andy P

I must be wide of the mark but I’d have thought that a ‘command’ aircraft to control a load of drones/unmanned aircraft would need to have a couple guys working the ‘Xbox’s’ and be bigger than a fighter.

AndyCee

This is something that interests me too. Typhoon and Lightning are both single seater aircraft. How busy is the pilot going to be if he has drones to control alongside flying and fighting his/her own aircraft?

pkcasimir

In December 2020, the USAF had a demonstration flight in which an F-22 and an F-35 conducted a flight with a semi-autonomous Valkyrie drone. The Valkyrie is one of the candidates for the USAF’s own “Wingman” program named Skyborg. The USAF gave contracts to three companies to have a Skyborg prototype available in May 2021 with flight tests beginning in July. The USAF’s emerging Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) intends to have all of its surveillance and attack platforms being able to communicate with each other. The USAF is confident that the F-35 and F-22 will have no problem controlling… Read more »

JohnN

I believe the same concept is planned to be used by the RAAF too, having Loyal Wingman operating not only with F-35A, F/A-18F or EA-18G, but also with E-7A, P-8A, escorting KC-30A tankers, etc, too.

Spyinthesky

That’s where the AI.comes in but I also note from elsewhere that external control via cooperative means is being considered if a second man is deemed advantageous and secure links can be maintained. But I suspect 2nd and 3rd gens will see the true potential.

Ron5

These drones will not be “flown” remotely as is Predator. They will fly autonomously. The Tempest pilot will issue tactical commands and the drone will do the rest e.g. “go there and tell me what you can detect & target”.

Andy P

Aye, I ‘get’ that but data will still need to be processed and I’m assuming some interaction between the pilot/operator and the ‘wingman’ or two. Especially if things start getting ‘shooty’ and there will be more missiles about the place.

I’m sure greater minds than mine have thought it all through.

Spyinthesky

Indeed as I said above external input from a variety of sources is in fact under consideration I am sure this is something prototypes will help to assess.

Daniele Mandelli

Excellent.

End of the decade though?

What of 216 Sqn and the swarming drones, I take it that is a different, smaller system, as we had read of the previous DS talking of deployment imminently.

Last edited 1 month ago by Daniele Mandelli
Joe16

Hi Daniele, I think so, yes. I think 216 Sqn and the swarms will likely take shape around those news reports that the MOD is looking at lower cost “attritable” drones. This just means kit that is intended to be used again and again, but cheap enough that you’re not going to lose sleep over it. The Protectors are too expensive for this, they’re looking at something like the Turkish drones that have had so much success in Syria, Libya, and Nagorno Karabakh (not sure if I spelled that properly…)- they lost quite a few but they’re effective and cheap… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Hi Joe.

Thank you.

Levi Goldsteinberg

I would love to see the Mosquito name back in RAF service. Thrilled that we’re looking at an indigenous effort too rather than importing from Boeing

heroic

What I’d like to know is a little bit of the basic Specifications like Size, Load capacity, Engine, range and Performance. I know it’s asking a lot at this early stage but I’d like to know roughly what we are talking about here.

Steve R

I’m assuming they’d have at least the range of the Typhoons and F35s, if they’re accompanying them as loyal wingmen. Same woth speed; need to be able to keep up with the mother ship.

heroic

Engines will be key then. Interesting times ahead.

Spyinthesky

Yes and exactly why they want to keep it in house as far as possible I’m certain. They also need to determine the best solution in a fluid ever moving Concept instead of buying into a best solution dictated by others that may be only marginally useful in the end.

arcad2000

we need to wait until 2023

Ron5

My understanding is that they will be smaller than the Australian effort and will have less range & carrying capacity. I may be wrong tho.

JohnN

The Boeing Australia Loyal Wingman is reported to be 38ft long, 22ft wingspan, range of 3700km.

There is a similar drone being developed in the US, the Kratos XQ-58 Valkyrie, reported to have an approx length of 29ft, 22ft wingspan, range of 3900km.

The Valkyrie is reported to be powered by a Williams International FJ33 turbofan, a very light weight, fuel efficient, and inexpensive turbofan.

No details on what powers the Boing Australia drone as yet, but I have seen it suggested it might also use the same Williams International turbofan.

Cheers,

heroic

Too much to hope for a SABRE engine then I guess.

Ron

Good to see investment into future tech for the armed forces. I noticed some comments about the possibility to develop a version for the carriers. In many ways I agree with this there is a question though that I don’t understand. Turkey has the Anka UAV very much akin to the MQ-1 Predator which will operate from their LHD which is based on th the same design as the Aussie Canberra. So if the Turks can land one or plan to land on their LHD why can’t we land one on our QE. Just thinking out loud. As for the… Read more »

Supportive Bloke

That is a very interesting point.

Mind you they had to have something to land and take off from it other than Helo’s given that the F35B was unceremoniously pulled from under their feet due to their mixing it with Putin.

Spyinthesky

Well the mosquito project is working on rectifying that absence.

DaveyB

According to Wiki, there are only four WW2 examples that are airworthy, which is a crying shame, for an aircraft that played such a pivotal role during the War. At least Avspecs in New Zealand are not only restoring them but also getting a few more airworthy.

Feel the noise:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_-AsgYvF2o&lc=UggPwYn000BKDXgCoAEC

CJH

The redeeming feature of this contract is that the MOD aren’t managing it themselves. I’m tempted to say “Here we go again” trying to develop independently of other nations and consortia which will lead to yet another set of headlines in 2023 about a “waste of public money”. It’s hard not to be cynical but since the late 50’s how many ideas, proposals and prototypes have there been which once the cost is published become political footballs and end up being cancelled. I think I must be getting old because instead of positive excitement at this contract I can only… Read more »

Daveyb

Reinventing what though? In its most basic form, it is a simple radio controlled aircraft. The aircraft design is perhaps the simplest part of the build and development. The complicated part is designing the autonomy. This is unfortunately the future. At some point the prediction of the 1957 Duncan Sandys Whitepaper will come to fruition, whereby frontline manned aircraft will become a thing of the past. Therefore, is it not right as a forward thinking Industrial Nation, that we should be at the forefront of unmanned aircraft development? The RAF are already leaning this way, as the Tempest is supposed… Read more »

CJH

Thanks. A very thorough and thoughtful response. Very Grateful. I too remember the 1957 Whitepaper and the debate throughout the fifties and sixties about the end of “manned flight” and the eventual spread of missile warfare which would negate using regular fighter and bomber aircraft. The debate in “Air Pictorial” and other magazines raged on for years. AI and Remote Control is in the near future but my only fear is that we’ll have uninformed or financially driven politicians making the decisions. That is probably more of a threat than any prospective aggressor but when was than not ever the… Read more »

Glass Half Full

The following is a really good observation that seems to be often overlooked – “The aircraft design is perhaps the simplest part of the build and development. The complicated part is designing the autonomy.” I think I’d go one step further and say that a similar observation applies to manned aircraft too, replacing autonomy with a broader software development component. As an example, we might consider how early F-35 flew before getting to IOC and we still aren’t where we want to be on software with F-35 today. It might be two full decades after the initial flight of the… Read more »

DaveyB

I agree, with today’s computational fluid dynamics software we are about 95 to 97% certain of the airflow characteristics of how a aircraft flies and responds to control movements and dynamic wind disturbances. So as I said the designing the aircraft is the easy part. The decision on how to build the aircraft will come down to production costs and how quickly the “client” requires it. Even with the legacy metal bashing and riveting, you can produce a clean sheet design really quickly. The hiccup comes when you want to put things in it and then have access, without disturbing… Read more »

Ron5

“Let’s not kid ourselves. The Loyal Wingman aircraft will not be a cheap alternative to a manned version”

Nobody is kidding themselves. The name of the program should give you a clue. It’s being developed as an add on not a stand alone system. As for development costs being the same as a new Typhoon, don’t be so daft.

DaveyB

I am not talking about the early prototype, but the singing all dancing version. But then it depends on how the aircraft is going to be kitted out. Will it have “good enough” sensors or top of the range stuff like those fitted to Typhoon/F35 etc, i.e. AESA radar, an IRST, a fully integrated DAS, integrated navigation attack computer etc? Granted the development costs of these systems are already paid for if we buy off the shelf and use Typhoon systems. However, integrating them into a new autonomous aircraft is going to throw up all kinds of issues. £100 million… Read more »

Ron5

Sorry I misunderstood your reply, I thought you were saying the development costs would be the same as Typhoon’s development costs (umpty billion) not the price of one production Typhoon.

Spyinthesky

Indeed we have to remember that the Turkish drones that decimated the Armenian forces and the Russians were Unable to neutralise were developed and produced in about 5 years because the US refused to sell them their alternatives. It’s simply how Complex and intelligent you want to make these things.

Supportive Bloke

Or, how you can simplify complex systems with clarity of thought?

Often the design and engineering thought process over complicates and slows because you attempt to incorporate all the previous thinking rather than use a reductionist principle of what is the minimum that is needed.

Pete

But when uk has gone alone ( or lead) in technology development it has become increasingly successful. Think ASRAAM, BRIMSTONE, METEOR, SPEAR 3, MERLIN etc.

Ron5

Technical success but not commercial.

Pete

Partly agree. First priority is to ensure mission success. On the commercial side the sale to third parties could always be better but the technical success of many of these solutions has allowed significant commercial benefit in development cost avoidance and/ or the procuring of alternatives from others. ASRAAM has resulted in relatively cost effective development of CAMM which is enjoying export success Brimstone has allowed significantly reduced airframe costs for given punch and has led to a relatively lower cost path to Spear3 etc.

George Royce

Will these carry any missiles or just jammers?

heroic

See Main Headline, second paragraph above George.

George Royce

Yes apologies for the careless comment. I was at work (remotely) and impatience drew me to skim over that little fact lol. Great to know it will carry offensives. How many missiles will it carry? no less than 2 I hope.

Captain P Wash

You are lucky to be at work mate….. Many of us are locked up in a World of Shite, going nowhere fast. thanks China !

George Royce

I’m working from home and yes, I’m very thankful for having a job still. Find myself working longer hours though. China should be called a rogue nation on the international stage. The PM should slap tarrifs on any British business doing business in China. We’re literally feeding the communist beast that will try to dominate us all.

Jonathan

To be fair to China, infectious disease are basically just a set of chances waiting to line up and fuck every over. Infectious disease are and have always been One lucky break away from killing you. Once you’ve seen someone’s lungs turn to bloody sludge with a few hours of feeling a bit unwell, it tends to lead you to a pessimistic what will be will be outlook.

ETH

China deliberately delayed Corona virus responses and warnings in order to maintain international image. That is not chance.

Jonathan

To be honest the delay did not really matter in regards to the end result.Covid is a stone cold bitch of a disease from a public health point of view and the modern world is simply laying back and saying take me now and take me hard. From the moment it moved from an animal to a human we were on the fast none stop express train to f%£ked. A disease with a natural R0 of three and a spread of symptoms from nothing to cold or flu like in 90% of people but then Hospitalises 10% and has a… Read more »

Jonny

I know Taranis was just a prototype but it looked really cool and would love to see something like it in service.

heroic

At one point, Taranis was the single most technically advance project the UK had ever undertaken, apparently. Even more so than Astute and QE so I guess there will be a big part of all that included in this project too….. hope they swap the Engine though…….

Spyinthesky

That’s precisely what I was thinking.

Watcherzero

Dont get too excited people, its just development of a technology demonstrator not a finished article. The technologies and concepts will then feed back into the LANCA programme which is part of Tempest.

Grant

With Combat Air being halved over the last decade this is a welcome development. The Aussies seem to be using their loyal wingman with two seater Hornets. Are any of the two seater Typhoons left in RAF service or did they all get they all get Cannibalised for ‘Reduce to produce’. Surely the workload of operating Mosquito from a single seat aircraft will be tricky and we dont need our latest and greatest aircraft if we have attritable drones in support. Hopefully the investment leads to some operational capability: I’m still not sure why we havent got any Taranis derived… Read more »

Spyinthesky

The Americans seem closest to getting that sort of vehicle into service though both Russia and China have prototypes I note. I think making demonstrators is the easy part, perfecting it and developing a use scenario that adds up are the difficult bit. Trouble is that this sort of platform is developing so quickly and quite diversely that deciding if and when to pull the trigger to produce service versions is difficult to ascertain and cost dictates the US and China can afford to risk that well beyond countries like ours most of the time. How would we actually use… Read more »

Uninformed Civvy Lurker

With regards to a single pilot controlling these loyal wingmen, then I guess a massive dollop of AI will be involved. If you’ve ever played Call Of Duty in single player mode, you have have a band of loyal “wingmen” accompanying you through the levels. If you stop and think , they hang around waiting with you , if you point them in the right direction, they unleash hell in the direction you send them, while you outflank the opposition, while they kamikaze onwards. If you want your team back with you, you click a button and they give up… Read more »

James

This sounds exciting but more like a decade away before it’s In service and likely part of Tempest. I would much prefer In the short term we had a QEC carriers have drone capabilities for surveillance and engagements or build a helicopter carrier that host drones too. The Turkish Canberra class style carrier will be the world first drone carrier as one mentioned before able to carry new TB3 drones and Akinci long range drones, and have autonomous low radar detection long range speed boats with anti ship missiles acting as force multiplier communicating with drones in the air and… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by James
Ron5

The QE’s with F-35’s massively overmatch the Turkish effort so you are worrying needlessly.

And these Loyal Wingman/LANCA drones will be operating from the UK carriers. The challenges in so doing are significant but not show stoppers. The light weight of the drones make the problems a lot simpler.

Ian

Taranis
What happened to the Taranis project and knowledge….. Does this belong to MOD/RAF or have BAE taken it….
thanks Ian