“Taranis” the first Supersonic Drone, is about to flying in a remote part of Australia which was once the site of nuclear tests.
Images © BAE Systems
Taranis has been 10-years in the design phase, is jointly funded by the UK MOD and UK industry and is managed by the UK MOD’s Unmanned Air Systems Project Team in the Defence Equipment and Support Organisation based in Bristol. Taranis was formally unveiled at a ceremony in July 2010. Initial ground testing commenced in 2010 with flight trials planned for 2013.
TARANIS: The future of air combat
- World’s first supersonic (above speed of sound) stealth unmanned combat aircraft
- Flying delta wing design 12 metres long with 10-metre wingspan
- Flies on pre-programmed flight path guided by on-board computer
- Stealth technology makes it virtually invisible to enemy radars
- Can select its own targets but final ‘kill’ decision taken by mission command
- Destroy targets with onboard missiles and provides intelligence back to command
- First flight to follow hundreds of hours of ground testing and one million man hours
Taranis air vehicle
“The technology demonstrator vehicle (TDV), the Taranis air vehicle is one of the world’s largest unmanned air vehicles and is approximately the same size as the BAE Systems Hawk advanced jet trainer which is 11.35m long, 3.98m high and has a wingspan of 9.94m.
On the same basis, the weight of the Taranis is approximately 8t. For comparison the empty weight and take-off weight of the Hawk are 4.45t and 9.1t.
The Taranis air vehicle has a delta-wing shape and tricycle-type landing gear. A computer-generated video shows the system taking off from a paved runway. The Taranis air vehicle is similar in shape, if not in scale, to BAE’s Raven delta-wing demonstrator unmanned air vehicle.
Claverham Ltd (formerly Fairey Hydraulics Ltd) has been contracted to provide the Primary Flight Control Actuation System for Taranis. Claverham Ltd is following a low-risk design strategy of scaling third-generation direct-drive valve systems (DDV) developed as part of the joint strike fighter programme.
Dunlop Aerospace Braking Systems is providing the wheels, brakes and brake control systems for the air vehicle.”