The British Department of Defense has signed a contract with the British company Spirit AeroSystems for the development and production of a flight prototype of an unmanned wingman. As reported by Defense News, the device should take off by the end 2023 of the year.
According to the publication, the development of the drone will be carried out within the framework of the LANCA program (Lightweight Affordable Novel Combat Aircraft), declared by the British War Office in 2019 year. The device being developed must meet several mandatory requirements: its cost should not exceed 10% from the cost of a manned fifth generation fighter and it must perform as independent reconnaissance flights, and in the park with manned aircraft.
Typhoon fighters are offered as leaders for working with the drone, F-35 Lightning II and a promising sixth generation fighter Tempest, developed by Britain.
Other requirements for an unmanned LANCA slave include transonic speed, ability to carry both different sensors for intelligence, and electronic warfare. No other tactical and technical details are given.
According to the contract signed, British Defense Ministry allocates for development, creation of a flight model and testing 30 million. pounds sterling and only three years. To end 2023 years unmanned slave LANCA should take off, based on the results of tests, a decision will be made to finalize the project and further serial production.
note, that the XQ-58A Valkyrie unmanned aerial vehicle is being developed for the US Air Force by the US Air Force Research Laboratory with the participation of Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems. Objective of the project – creation of reusable devices that are relatively cheap to manufacture, which can serve as a fighter, but whose losses during the war will not be financially sensitive.
Boeing develops unmanned wingman for the Australian Air Force as part of the Loyal Wingman Advanced Development Program. The drone must accompany the fighters as a wingman, while carrying additional weapons or other systems, necessary to complete the task.
used photos:UK Department of Defense