From the BBC :
The Ministry of Defence has unveiled its prototype unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV). Taranis is a concept design for a long-range strike plane that has taken over three million man hours to produce. Defence Minister Gerald Howarth said it was a “truly trailblazing project” and featured “the best of our nation’s advanced design and technology”.
Named after the Celtic god of thunder, Taranis is the first step in the development of unmanned strike aircraft, capable of penetrating enemy territory. The aircraft is due to begin flight trials early next year.
This thing is approximately the size of a Hawk: according to Wikipedia that’s a length of 12.43 m (40 ft 9 in) and a wingspan of 9.94 m (32 ft 7 in). It will be quite something to see it fly, (not that I’m ever likely to). A computer modelled video shows that Taranis taking off and landing in a conventional manner: will it hang in the air and hover like other UAVs, does it employ optical stealth as well as radar stealth? Will it ever see operational use? Will we ever even find out?
And here’s a piece about a less immediately phwoar! but no less thrilling piece of airborne kit, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Tip of the hat to UFO Mystic