Broadband Stealth May Drive Taranis Design

By Bill Sweetman
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

In 2010, BAE teamed with two British universities to build a small UAV called Demon with fluidic vectoring—using air injection inside the exhaust to vector the thrust, with no moving parts externally or in the exhaust stream—as part of a flight-control system with no moving surfaces. A Rolls-Royce patent filed in the U.K. in 2005 outlines a fluidic vectoring system designed to generate yawing moments in a high-aspect-ratio 2-D nozzle.

The navigation and guidance system for Taranis, perhaps not yet installed, very probably uses an advanced concept called simultaneous localization and mapping (Slam). BAE Systems Australia has been developing a highly autonomous Slam-based system and is responsible for the Taranis navigation and guidance gear, which it refuses to discuss (AW&ST April 1, 2013, p. 24).

Slam is suited to a stealth aircraft because it can use passive sensors—day video, IR or passive RF. Nor does it rely on a sometimes inaccurate terrain database.

Taranis is a subscale demonstrator. However, a 25% scale-up would result in an aircraft of almost twice the weight, so it is probably close in size to an operational follow-on. c

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