Although the footage was shot in August 2013, today BAE Systems released it for the first time.
“Taranis“, the technological demonstrator of UK’s stealthy unmanned combat vehicle made its first flight on Aug. 10, 2013.
Where the maiden sortie took place remains a secret.
The aircraft flew at the old British Nuclear test range at Woomera, Australia.
The only thing we know is that the “superdrone” flew under the command of BAE Systems’ test pilot Bob Fraser and “made a perfect take off, rotation, ‘climb out’ and landing.”
Since then, a number of other test flights have taken place in much secrecy.
“Taranis” is an Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV), described as “the most advanced aircraft ever built by British engineers”.
It’s a semi-autonomous pilotless system that will feature an intercontinental range and will be able to carry a wide variety of weapons, including PGMs (Precision Guided Munitions) and air-to-air missiles.
The Royal Air Force already operates a fleet of Reaper drones from RAF Waddington airbase.
Image credit: BAE Systems
The shadow of the chase plane looks like a Typhoon to me.
What’s crazy is seeing these drones and remembering back as a kid, 30+ years ago, reading a book about military aviation and seeing an artist’s illustration of an aerial battle composed of sleek, flying wing drones. The author wrote about these “unmanned jets” being the way wars would be fought in the future. It sounded so science fiction. And yet, here we are.