The Taranis is a military stealth drone, aka an Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) being built by BAE.
The Taranis, is one of the most secret drones being built employing cutting-edge drone and stealth technology.
Capable of reaching speeds of more than 700 mph, it could come and go without anyone on the ground noticing it, but for the sound of its sonic boom.
It’s “virtually invisible to radar,” David Coates, a spokesperson for BAE Systems — the company that manufactured the drone — told Tech Insider in an email.
Aptly named for the Celtic god of thunder, the British-made Taranis is one of the most advanced aircraft ever built, and certainly the most advanced built by British engineers.
According to BAE’s website, the Taranis is capable of “undertaking sustained surveillance, marking targets, gathering intelligence, deterring adversaries, and carrying out strikes in hostile territory,” all with the supervision of a human operator on the ground.
The idea of removing pilots from military aircraft provide major advantages.
Less Risk to Military Personnel – if the drone gets shot down, no pilot is at risk
- Superior Surveillance – In terms of surveillance, drones are capable of slipping across international borders with relative ease without putting human personnel at risk.
- Flight Duration – Their ability to loiter over targets allows them to observe “patterns of life” to provide surveillance data 24/7, identify and track potential targets, and determine the best time to strike to avoid civilian casualties.
- Less Fuel – is needed with reduced weight of the human pilot and his equipment related support life/emergency systems and equipment.
- More Maneuverability – without a human more extreme G forces can be applied which might otherwise render a pilot unconscious. More dangerous maneuvers can be attempted without worrying about the danger to the pilot
- Flight Training Time – current military jets requires years of preparation and training for pilots. Pilot training time is eliminated.
- Cost – the cost of the military drones is typically less than a conventional fighter plane. The cost of having an on-board fighter pilot is removed along with less on-board equipment which would be necessary to support the human pilot.
- Distance/Range – is increased because the aircraft’s size etc. can be maximized without consideration to a human pilot
Are there disadvantages? Absolutely.
Now you have an armed, flying system capable of inflicting great harm and damage without a human on board. Sure, they’re controlled from Nevada or some other remote location but what if this system is hacked and compromised by your enemy? One could only imagine that nightmare. That’s perhaps the biggest danger.
FYI – Being a human fighter pilot is dangerous and difficult business. It takes unique physical and mental capabilities and reactions. Their salaries range from: $34,500 to $97,400. Plus good benefits and a $225,000 signing bonus — guaranteed. The bottom line is fighter pilots are are expensive to train, pay, feed, and then you dole out retirement benefits to them. All past and present US fighter pilots are brave and special people and deserve our respect.
Military drones are going to be a major part of our military’s future. Let’s hope we don’t have to use them or face them very often.