In a move that reflects activity in the US and Australia, the UK Government has announced a further £30m investment into its programme to develop an uncrewed fighter aircraft.
Using the universal name of ‘loyal wingman’, the system builds on the Royal Air Force’s Lightweight Novel Combat Aircraft (LANCA) concept. The UK is aiming to have a full-scale vehicle flight test programme by the end of 2023. The uncrewed fighter aircraft is designed to target and fire on adversary aircraft and ‘survive against surface to air missiles’.
The project is being developed by ‘Team Mosquito’, which is led by Spirit AeroSystems in Belfast and includes participation from Northrop Grumman UK.
“We’re taking a revolutionary approach, looking at a game-changing mix of swarming drones and uncrewed fighter aircraft like Mosquito, alongside piloted fighters like Tempest, that will transform the combat battlespace in a way not seen since the advent of the jet age,” said Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston.
The system is being designed to fly alongside the in-development Tempest crewed fighter jet as part of a future combat air system or FCAS and will be designed to ensure it can be updated easily and affordably allowing it to maintain pace with new threats.
It will be interesting to see which project gets airborne first.
Trade and Investment Director
Office of the Agent General UK