Britain ends two UAV projects, starts a third, will it finish it?

LONDON ($1=0.88 GBP) — The indiscriminate spending of British taxpayers’ money continues and the Ministry of Defense is apparently unfazed by it. After billions of British pounds were spent on 26 infantry fighting vehicles under Project Ajax, London has now scrapped two drone projects – Project Mosquito and Project Alvina. The good news for the Ministry of Defense is that it has launched a third drone project. The bad news for British taxpayers is precisely the launch of the third drone project.

Britain terminated its loyal wingman project called Mosquito UCAV
Photo credit: Spirit AeroSystems

The Ministry of Defense clarified that the third project is a continuation of the Lightweight Affordable Novel Combat Aircraft [LANCA] project. The ironic thing about the LANCA project is that its concept involves reducing development costs and deadlines. Otherwise, LANCA is a project for an unmanned aerial vehicle to be used alongside the Royal Air Force’s Typhoon and F-35 fighter jets. Sort of like a “loyal wing”. The irony here, again, is that the Mosquito and Alvina were also developed as “loyal wings” of the Royal Fighters.

Britain has been developing similar projects for years. LANCA could be said to have started as an idea in 2015 when the idea of ​​low cost, fast production, and an entire aerial fleet of “loyal wing” drones was born.

Actually, Mosquito was sort of Phase 1 of the LANCA program and had to provide answers on design, risk assessment, etc. Britain should have already carried out the first test flight of the first prototype of the Mosquito project in 2022.

However, now that both the Mosquito and Alvina programs have been canceled, the Ministry of Defense is preparing for a key meeting at the end of November this year. I.e. launched a third project, which experts say is a “start from the beginning” while the British military says it’s a continuation. On November 29, Britain’s military and industrial partners will have to consider how they can best contribute to developing a “loyalty wing” for the Royal Air Force.

Britain terminated its loyal wingman project called Mosquito UCAV
Photo credit: British MoD

Businesses will be asked to provide answers to questions related to UAS design and manufacture, propulsion, system integration, navigation, communication, electronic warfare [EW] payloads [active and passive], autonomy, command and control, airworthiness, and certification.

The Royal Air Force claims that through the Mosquito project and “other experimental activities” it has made “significant progress”. According to air ace leaders, the service has gained “significant value in understanding and exploiting a range of future unmanned capabilities.” According to the service, the termination of projects related to the development of unmanned aerial vehicles so far will not affect the British intentions to build the capabilities of a capable and cost-effective combination. I.e. fighter jets and drones, which was always the idea from the beginning.

According to the original plans, 2035 is the time when the Royal Air Force will have to fully work together with the “loyal wings”. I.e. achieving an operational capability that would increase the combat capability of British air aces in various military operations.


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