Spirit AeroSystems in Belfast has been selected to take the lead on Team Mosquito, signing a £30 million contract to design and manufacture a prototype of uncrewed fighter aircraft in a three-year deal.
These aircraft, known as a loyal wingman, will be designed to fly at high speeds alongside fighter jets, armed with electronic warfare and surveillance technology, as well as missiles – the first uncrewed platforms in the UK that will be able to target and shoot down enemy aircraft, and survive against surface-to-air missiles.
Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston said: “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.”
Project Mosquito aims to transform traditional approaches to air combat, enabling the rapid development of technology. It will see dramatic cost reductions delivered, as well as reduced development timelines, which means that innovations can reach the frontline quicker than before.
This latest research and development project will ensure that the final design for the aircraft will be able to be updated easily and affordably with the latest technology to keep one step ahead of any and all adversaries.
Last year, defence minister Baroness Goldie also revealed that the RAF has been making progress in its plans to develop swarming drones, with the aim of the Many Drones Make Light Work project to look into how feasible it would be for the military to use up to 20 such vehicles, all under the control of one operative.
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