The goal of Project Mosquito is to create a demonstrator for the RAF’s Lightweight Affordable Novel Combat Aircraft (LANCA) concept with flight tests by the end of 2023. (Spirit AeroSystems)
The U.K.'s Ministry of Defense has awarded a £30 million contract to Spirit AeroSystems in Belfast to lead Project Mosquito which will design and manufacture a prototype for the UK’s first fleet of unmanned fighter aircraft, according to a Jan. 25 press release from the Royal Air Force (RAF).
“Project Mosquito is a vital element of our approach to Future Combat Air, rapidly bringing to life design, build and test skills for next-generation combat air capabilities,” Richard Berthon, director of future combat air, said in a press statement. “Autonomous ‘loyal wingman’ aircraft create the opportunity to expand, diversify and rapidly upgrade Combat Air Forces in a cost-effective way, now and in the future."
The goal of Project Mosquito is to create a demonstrator for the RAF’s Lightweight Affordable Novel Combat Aircraft (LANCA) concept with flight tests by the end of 2023, according to the release.
“The Project will deliver a demonstration of a capability that the RAF may wish to develop further in the future,” a spokesperson from the RAF told Avionics. “It is not intended to output an operational capability at this stage, but it will inform future decisions for the future UK combat air capability. We are exploring the optimum way in which such capabilities could complement platforms such as Typhoon, F-35, and Tempest as loyal wingmen.”
Spirit AeroSystems will work with Northrop Grumman UK on Project Mosquito, according to the release. The deal spans three years and will create over 100 jobs in Belfast. (Spirit AeroSystems)
According to the RAF release, these aircraft could have capabilities to target and shoot down enemy aircraft and survive against surface-to-air missiles. The aircraft would fly alongside Typhoon, the F-35, or the Tempest to provide protection, survivability, and information as part of the future combat air system.
“We’re taking a revolutionary approach, looking at a game-changing mix of swarming drones and uncrewed fighter aircraft like Mosquito, alongside piloted fighters like Tempest, that will transform the combat battlespace in a way not seen since the advent of the jet age,” Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, Chief of the Air Staff, said in a press statement.
Spirit AeroSystems will work with Northrop Grumman UK on Project Mosquito, according to the release. The deal spans three years and will create over 100 jobs in Belfast.
“This is a great win for the Northern Ireland defense industry and will showcase some of the most pioneering engineering work currently being undertaken in the UK,” Jeremy Quin, UK Defense Minister, said in a press statement. “The £30 million project will accelerate the development of the UK’s future air power by delivering cutting-edge uncrewed aircraft, maintaining our position as a world leader in emerging technologies.”