Britain’s top secret stealth drone will complete its third and possibly final round of test flights later this year, the Ministry of Defence has said.
The £200 million Taranis programme, making the most advanced aircraft ever built by British engineers, will have achieved all its objectives if this year’s trials go well, officials said. No decision has been made on further tests.
The remotely-piloted drone, constructed by BAE Systems, is a “combat vehicle demonstrator” to test and develop technology for future generations of fighters and unmanned vehicles.
Though unarmed it is expected to provide the basis for future fleets of supersonic stealth drone bombers that can attack deep into enemy territory, while evading sophisticated defences.
Tests on the unmanned aircraft named after the Celtic god of thunder have included “simulated weapon release”.
Taranis has already completed two sets of test flights and officials have released film of it flying from but an unnamed location, believed to have been in Woomera, Australia.