The uncrewed fighter aircraft demonstrator, known as Mosquito, will begin a flight-test programme in 2023.
Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin, gave a keynote speech at the RUSI Combat Air Power conference outlining the plan.
“Our £30m contract to design and manufacture the prototype for an uncrewed fighter aircraft, known as Mosquito, is supporting more than 100 jobs in Belfast. In 2023 we will be looking to conduct a flight-test programme for the demonstrator.”
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.
“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. Known as a ‘loyal wingman’, these aircraft will be the UK’s first uncrewed platforms able to target and shoot down enemy aircraft and survive against surface to air missiles.”
Team MOSQUITO, which also includes Northrop Grumman UK, will mature the designs and manufacture a technology demonstrator to generate evidence for the 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.
“The Project will deliver a demonstration of a capability that the RAF may wish to develop further in the future,” a spokesperson from the RAF said.
“It is not intended to output an operational capability at this stage, but it will inform future decisions for the future UK combat air capability. We are exploring the optimum way in which such capabilities could complement platforms such as Typhoon, F-35, and Tempest.”