A new British semi-autonomous military drone is shortly to be flying the unfriendly skies over a trouble-spot near you.
Designed by BAE Systems for the Ministry of Defence the Taranis combat aircraft, named after the Celtic God of Thunder, is built to be semi-autonomous long range strike aircraft that can fly in and out of war zones for reconnaissance or combat.
The £143m aircraft is packed with communications systems and an operating system that should let it fly on preprogrammed courses or via operator control via satellite anywhere in the world. The body shape has been designed to be as stealthy as possible.
"Taranis is a truly trailblazing project," said minister for International Security Strategy Gerald Howarth.
"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."
This isn't the only success British robotics and systems design has had recently. Defence firm Qinetiq has announced orders from the UK for its Talisman robotics package.
Each Talisman unit contains Mastiff Protected Patrol Vehicle; a Buffalo Mine Protected Vehicle with a manipulator arm; a JCB High Mobility Engineer Excavator; and a T-Hawk Micro Air Vehicle.
"It has been designed as a flexible manoeuvre support capability that can be quickly re-tasked and rearranged to meet different missions, operating independently or alongside other bomb disposal systems dependent on the threat," said Patrick Beazley, head of Combat Wheels Group at Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S).
"Talisman is now part of a wide range of tools, techniques and tactics we have to help mitigate the risk to our forces from the threat of IEDs."
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