LONDON ($1=0.82 British Pounds) — The United Kingdom has announced that the Spirit Mosquito unmanned combat aerial vehicle [UCAV] will not go beyond the design phase. The Mosquito project has, in a sense, been discontinued.
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With Mosquito UCAV, the first project for a British Air Force drone, Britain aimed to develop a Loyal Wingman that could work with aircraft such as the F-35, Tempest, and Typhoon. The United Kingdom has selected the American company Spirit AeroSystems as the main contractor for the project.
However, the British Ministry of Defense announced yesterday [June 24th] surprisingly that the Musquito project will not go beyond the design phase. Spirit AeroSystems, on the other hand, aimed to begin testing Musquito with a full prototype in 2023, under a £ 30m contract signed by the UK Department of Defense last year.
The British Ministry of Defense announced that the decision was made by mutual agreement with the project partners. It is reported that the decision marks a change in the direction of the LANCA concept.
The Mosquito project, which draws attention with its resemblance to the US Air Force’s Skyborg program, is being developed as part of the British Royal Air Force’s Lightweight Affordable Novel Combat Aircraft [LANCA] concept.
As part of the concept, the first aircraft was expected to start flying alongside Typhoon and F-35 fighter jets in the late 2020s. The first unmanned fighter jet, developed as part of the Mosquito project, was scheduled to take off before Tempest, which is expected to be operational in 2035.
The British company Thales UK previously developed an unmanned aerial vehicle called a Watchkeeper with the Israeli company Elbit Systems. Based on the Israeli Hermes 450 UAV, the Watchkeeper struggles with many problems. As part of the Watchkeeper project, which has a budget of about twice as much as planned, 8 UAVs have crashed due to various technical reasons. The last event happened this year and a Watchkeeper fell into the Mediterranean.
On the other hand, the United Kingdom has recently had tight security and defense relations with Turkey. The Commander of the British Air Force visited TAI and received information about the produced UCAV.
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