Taranis UCAS
BAE Systems has been awarded a FCAS Focused Research contract by the UK Ministry of Defence (UK MoD) to sustain and develop the UK’s critical technology and skills in the field for next-generation combat air systems.

BAE Systems Future Combat Air Systems director Tom Fillingham said that the contract will further develop the programme to address critical technology requirements for future Unmanned Combat Air Systems.

Under the four-year £40m contract, the company will support the MoD’s unmanned air system (UAS) strategy to ensure use and exploitation of new technologies over the coming decades.

The ongoing development of the unmanned aircraft programme is intended to provide surveillance and reconnaissance support to front-line troops as well as to help save lives in Afghanistan.

UK Defence Equipment Support and Technology minister Peter Luff said that providing sustained support for science and technology projects related to defence will develop and maintain the nation’s strengths in the FCAS field.

As part of the MoD’s UCAS programme, the company rolled out the Unmanned Combat Taranis in July 2010, which will allow for theexploration and demonstration of emerging technologies and systems to deliver mission-success capabilities for the UK armed forces.

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The development of the air vehicle, managed by the UK MoD’s Unmanned Air Systems Project Team in the Defence Equipment and Support organisation, is jointly funded by the UK MoD and UK industry.

The Taranis demonstrator was developed to provide understanding of the potential capabilities of the UAV as well as to make decisions on the future mix of manned and unmanned fast jet aircraft.

The flight trials of the Taranis UAV are planned for 2011/2012.

Image Caption: The Unmanned Combat Air System Taranis incorporates both autonomous and survivable Unmanned Aerial Vehicle design. Image Courtesy: BAE Systems.