British Stealth’s Sneaky Debut

Britain’s Taranis stealth remotely piloted aircraft demonstrator secretly flew for the first time “surpassing all expectations” last summer, BAE Systems announced on Wednesday. “The findings from the aircraft’s flight prove that the UK has developed a significant lead in understanding unmanned aircraft, which could strike with precision over a long range whilst remaining undetected,” BAE stated. The trainer-sized RPA’s first maiden hop lasted 15 minutes, successfully demonstrating take-off, climb-out, and landing at an undisclosed location on Aug. 10, 2013, BAE revealed. “Taranis is providing vital insights that will help shape future capabilities for our armed forces in coming decades,” Britain’s defense equipment minister Philip Dunne said in the release. Taranis has now completed several test and evaluation flights. BAE unveiled the aircraft, named for the Celtic god of thunder, more than three years ago with initial plans to begin flight testing in 2011.