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QinetiQ To Play Strategic Role in UK MoD's 'Taranis' Programme

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: 08 December, 2006  (New Product)
QinetiQ to play strategic role in MODs £124 million ′Taranis' UAV technology demonstrator programme

The MoD has just awarded a BAE Systems led team, which includes QinetiQ, Rolls-Royce and Smiths Aerospace, a £124 million jointly funded MoD and UK industry programme, to develop a world-class UAV (Unmanned Air Vehicle) ‘Technology Demonstrator' project called ‘Taranis'.

The team will work alongside MoD military staff and scientists on this four-year project, part of the UK Government's Strategic Unmanned Air Vehicle (Experimental) Programme [SUAV(E)], and will develop and fly a vehicle which will include fully integrated autonomous systems and low observable features. Named after the Celtic God of Thunder, Taranis will explore and demonstrate how emerging technologies and systems can deliver battle-winning capabilities for the UK armed forces. It will also provide the MoD with experimental evidence on the potential capabilities of this class of UAV and help inform its decisions on the future mix of manned and unmanned fast jet aircraft.

This programme brings together a number of technologies, capabilities and systems and QinetiQ's responsibilities include the high level reasoning software which will contribute to the vehicle's autonomous capability, the provision of the communications sub-system and associated antennas and the flight safety sub-system.

'Taranis is an excellent opportunity to build on our previous significant research in autonomy and low observable systems and apply it in a practical UAV environment,' stated Graeme Ferrero, Managing Director of Defence Technology for QinetiQ. 'It is also the first major programme in which QinetiQ has co-invested with other industry partners.'

Ground testing of Taranis is expected to take place in early 2009 with the first flight trials taking place in 2010. In addition to the existing industry partners, the project will also engage a significant number of other UK suppliers who will provide the programme with supporting technology and components.

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