Mystery Stealth aircraft spotted in UK. A cancelled Black Project being revived?

Feb 25 2014 - 22 Comments

A video recently shot at BAE Warton shows a mystery stealth jet moved upside down. Not a (current) Black Project, still interesting.

The following footage was shot on Feb. 18, near BAE Systems facilities at Warton, in Lancashire, England.

The aircraft being moved is probably a full size model of the BAE Replica, a British stealth aircraft model developed by BAE in the 1990s and used for radar testing before its associated program, the FOAS (Future Offensive Air System), was cancelled in 2005.

The FOAS was a study aimed at finding a replacement for the RAF Tornado GR4. After the program was scrapped, it was replaced by the Deep and Persistent Offensive Capability (DPOC) program that was itself cancelled in 2010, following the UK military’s spending review.

The Taranis UCAV (Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle) 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, emerged as the eventual successor of the FOAS.

Anyway, the experience done by the BAE with the full-scale model of the BAE Replica is believed to be useful for the F-35, that is going to be the actual replacement for the Tornado GR4.

What’s unclear is what the airplane was doing in the open (and upside down). For sure nothing really secret (otherwise it would have been covered).

It’s been used for some additional tests on stealth technologies/designs? Something useful for the Taranis project or something else?


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  • I think the Replica is now used in support of F-35 stealthness work, and possibly for Taranis too. It has been seen upside down in the past, already, when it was mounted like that on supports inside and outside of laboratories to test RCS.

    In the video, it can be seen towed past the support over which it was previously seen mounted, always upside down.

    The most evident difference is a somewhat smoother look as well as different colors. Perhaps playing around with new stealth coatings?

  • Doug Allen

    It looks very reminiscent of McDonnell Douglas/BAE’s proposal for the JSF program.

    Could it be a mock up for Turkey’s TFX? Korea’s KFX?

    A movie prop like the F/A-37 from “Stealth”?

    • Ed

      It’s the Replica study by BAE as the text denotes; this thing probably formed the basis of their JSF proposal. The mockup has been around for quite some time, the only new thing here is that they’re moving it for some reason. Perhaps they simply want to have it on display somewhere else.

  • itsmefool

    Upside down seems to be a curious position for a static testbed; in Fort Worth, where LockMart is building the JSF, there’s an F-35 pole dancer for all to see and it’s mounted upright…

  • John

    Do a search for BAE Replica Project, looks like that is what we have here.

  • Daus

    In 6 months the Chinese will release it’s copy of the upside down J20 variant. :)

  • michael

    Did it ever fly? it doesn’t looks like

    • Ed

      This airframe was used for stealth development – so, afaik, while this particular thing was a mockup of sorts, the design itself must have been serious.

  • R.Lopaka

    More likely Australian!! Down under.

    • phuzz

      I came here to make that joke, but you beat me to it :(

  • rob
  • Tim OBrien

    Movie prop more likely…

  • Hard Little Machine

    Obama should just give them our F-35.

    • Roman

      Your F-35?!? The British helped make it. Which is why it’s called the F-35 Lightning II – the first was the EEL (English Electric Lightning).

  • Bigdirk

    The comments about being ‘upside-down’ are funny, but hey, look at that undercarriage!! really unique!

  • Javier.c

    Back end reminds me of the YF-23 .

  • GeeBee R3

    I suspect it was being moved to the museum. In other news I’ve heard that they are planning to open the museum to the public in the future.

    • Roman

      A museum? It was moved to its hanger. If you’ve ever been to BAE Warton, you’d see it’s got it’s own little hanger out back away from everything else.

  • kevin anderson

    A prop for the next Bond movie? ;)

  • DB100-SM2

    It is a full-scale model of the Turkish Aerospace Industries TF-X Twin-Engine Air Superiority fighter that BAE Systems is helping Turkey develop. Pre-conceptual design phase was completed on 29 September 2013. Most likely undergoing wind-tunnel testing etc in UK. I think it is also clearly evident that BAE is using technology from its own Replica program.

  • Phil Verhey

    There’s a good chance it’s being used for AESA radar development, just as the F-35 has been used to develop the new patriot array (Pac3)….
    … though even when the Pac3 operators verbally directed the F-35s via radio, the 3rd networked arrays still couldn’t see them… despite being able to spot tiny stealthy missiles with ease miles away.

  • Sanchez Vasile

    Who threatened UK should pay. Long live the Queen!