BAE System's Taranis stealth drone, dubbed the most advanced British aircraft ever built, continues its exhaustive testing program. Matthew Stock reports.
This is Taranis - BAE Systems' unmanned concept aircraft design to test the next generation of combat technology. Named after the Celtic god of thunder, maiden test flights first took place in Australia in 2013. Speaking at the Farnborough Airshow, BAE provided a update on the secretive project. SOUNDBITE (English) MARTIN ROWE-WILLCOCKS, HEAD OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT BAE SYSTEMS FUTURE PROGRAMMES, SAYING: "So, Taranis is our technology demonstrator for the next generation of combat aeroplanes... And the aeroplane first flew back in 2013 out in Australia, and since then it's completed three sets of flight trials and we're now in the process of analysing all the data we've received through those trials." Under the control of a human operator, the unmanned craft is designed to undertake sustained surveillance, mark targets, gather intelligence and carry out strikes in hostile territory. Key to this is its stealth capabilities. SOUNDBITE (English) MARTIN ROWE-WILLCOCKS, HEAD OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT BAE SYSTEMS FUTURE PROGRAMMES, SAYING: "The stealth technologies, so low radar signature, low infrared signature - that's driven primarily by the shape of the aeroplane, how you integrate the engine inside it so you don't get sharp edges and visions of leading faces." Taranis is now being prepared for the next phase of trials, starting next year, as the team continues to develop the aircraft's capability. Small models of the Taranis aircraft are on display at the Farnborough Airshow, which runs until July 17.