The Daily Mail has reported that the British Ministry of Defense (MOD) has unveiled Britain’s first unmanned stealth fighter jet – the Taranis. The £142.5 million prototype aircraft, which was developed by BEA and named after the Celtic god of thunder, is about the same size as a Hawk jet or a light aircraft and its also equipped with stealth technology and an ‘autonomous’ artificial intelligence system.
The Taranis prototype will test the possibility of developing the world’s first ever autonomous stealthy Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) which could ultimately replace the Tornado and be used to carry bombs and missiles to strike targets at long ranges and even on other continents. Otherwise, the aircraft will primarily carry out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions while its crew remains safely on the ground.
Gerald Howarth, the Minister for International Security Strategy, noted that the Taranis is a trailblazing project for the British defense and aviation industries. In fact, he was quoted as saying that the aircraft is:
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. ‘Taranis shows the UK’s advanced engineering, research, technology and innovation sector at its world-beating best.
If you want to learn more about the Taranis, the Daily Mail Article also includes a great video report detailing the aircraft’s capabilities.