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mod taranis futuristic UAV celtic god of thunder officialy unveiled 12th july 2010

A FEARSOME warplane which flies without a pilot or crew but is capable of devastating long-range combat missions was today officially unveiled by defence bosses.

Named after the Celtic god of thunder, Taranis, the futuristic fighter will test the possibility of creating the first ever Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle.

The prototype could one day be able to strike distant enemy targets on different continents — all controlled by military crews on the ground.

Speaking at the unveiling ceremony at BAE Systems in Warton, Lancashire, Minister for International Security Strategy Gerald Howarth said: "Taranis is a truly trailblazing project. The first of its kind in the UK, it reflects the best of our nation's advanced design and technology skills and is a leading programme on the global stage."

Representing the pinnacle of UK engineering and aeronautical design, Taranis is an informal partnership of the MOD and industry talents including BAE Systems, Rolls Royce, QinetiQ and GE Aviation.

Speaking on behalf of the industry team, Nigel Whitehead, of BAE Systems, said: "Taranis has been three and a half years in the making and is the product of more than a million man-hours.

"It represents a significant step forward in this country's fast-jet capability. This technology is key to sustaining a strong industrial base and to maintain the UK's leading position as a centre for engineering excellence and innovation."

The Taranis prototype will provide the MOD with critical knowledge on the technical and manufacturing challenges and the potential capabilities of Unmanned Combat Air Systems.
Flight trials are due in 2011.

see pics here

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