Feb. 6 - A pilotless drone, described as Britain's ''most advanced aircraft'', surpassed all expectations in a series of secret tests last summer in the Australian outback, according to its manufacturer. The drone, named Taranis, has been designed to undertake surveillance and carry out strikes in hostile territory. Jim Drury reports.
STORY: This is the Taranis, a British unmanned combat drone described by its makers as the most advanced aircraft ever built by UK engineers. BAE Systems says secret tests in the Australian outback last summer surpassed all expectations. The plane is designed for surveillance, intelligence gathering, and pinpointing targets, and is capable of launching attacks in hostile territory. The company says Taranis performed exactly as planned - taking off, manoeuvering and landing flawlessly after its 15 minute maiden flight, and all under the control of a test pilot on the ground. Taranis is the result of a million-and-a-half man hours by scientists and engineers. It cost 300 million dollars to develop, heralding a new era of pilotless, computer controlled aerial technology.