Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Taranis thunders forward

Taranis thunders forward

An Equipment and Logistics news article
20 Nov 07

A project which will enhance the capability of the future fast-jet fleet has moved a step closer to becoming reality as the first metal for the airframe of the Taranis unmanned combat air vehicle was cut in a ceremony at BAE Systems in Lancashire.

The future of UK air capability: Taranis will give the RAF a demonstrator that will form the basis of its plans to build the first pilotless front line fighter-bomber

Project Taranis, named after the Celtic god of thunder, will build an unmanned fast jet demonstrator the size of a Hawk trainer - making it one of the world's largest UAVs - that will be stealthy, fast and be able to test deploy a range of munitions over a number of targets and be able to defend itself against manned and other unmanned enemy aircraft.

The event at BAE was attended by DE&S Strategic Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (Experiment) (SUAVE) team leader, Jonathan Barratt, who was joined by the Managing Director of Autonomous Systems and Future Capability for BAE Systems, Mark Kane, to start the machining process:

"This programme is not just about helping position UK industry for a future programme, and putting the UK on the map with cutting edge technology," Mr Barratt explained. "It is also about informing the basis the future RAF and potential future military capability."

A £124m contract for Taranis was announced by the MOD and BAE Systems in December 2006. The project is an important part of the Defence Industrial Strategy, and Taranis will give the RAF a demonstrator that will form the basis of its plans to build the first pilotless front line fighter-bomber. The project will also play a significant first step in sustaining key capabilities in the UK industrial supplier base, supporting the future fast-jet fleet, in particular Typhoon and the Joint Strike Fighter.

The entry to service of the Reaper reconnaissance UAV in October 2007 was a significant step in the development of military unmanned aerial vehicles

The technology risk reduction and knowledge acquired by industry from the Taranis demonstrator project will underpin an Initial Gate Balance of Investment decision in early 2011 to inform the emerging Deep and Persistent Offensive Capability (DPOC) within the future combat air force mix. Some of the current mix of manned aircraft including the Tornado and Harrier are due to retire from service in the next 20 years.

The SUAVE team will be looking at a variety of options, including manned and unmanned aircraft, to meet the DPOC capability. Working under a Team Charter, the industry team of BAE Systems, QinetiQ, Rolls-Royce, Smiths Aerospace and the MOD bring together some of the finest skills in the world to implement this complex project which is one of the first of its kind.

Ground-testing of Taranis is scheduled to begin in early 2009, with the first flight trials due to take place in 2010.

This article first appeared in the November 2007 issue of Preview magazine - For Defence Equipment and Support, The Equipment Capability Customer and industry.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

An unqualified success" or Hansard uncorrected transcript of oral evidence: HC 151-i

House of Commons minutes of evidence taken before the committee of public accounts, Monday 3 November 2007 "The privatisation of QinetiQ" (Q193 exchange between Mr. Bacon MP and Mr. Trevor Woolley of the Ministry of Defence);

Mr. Bacon: "Mr Woolley, are you a chartered accountant ?"

Mr. Woolley: "I am not."

Mr. Bacon: "Are you a qualified financial person of any kind ? Do you have financial qualifications ?"

Mr. Woolley: "I do not have financial qualifications."

Mr. Bacon: "What is your job ?"

Mr. Woolley: "I am the Finance Director of the Ministry of Defence"