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Taranis: The Unmanned Fighter of the Future

Looks like the British want to shake up the unmanned fighter game. Forget the missile-raining Predator, the UK's Ministry of Defense (MoD) promises that the Taranis will be so much cooler.

The MoD says that while the aforementioned Predator and its descendant the Reaper (both UAVs developed in the US) can scope the battlefield and even attack enemies, they can only operate within controlled airspace.

Not so with the Taranis, which utilizes stealth-technology that allows it to sneak "virtually" undetected over enemy territory. The profile of the aircraft, which was developed by the MoD with the help of BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, QinetiQ and GE Aviation, is a more streamlined version of the classic Lockheed F-117 stealth fighter.

The $216.1 million prototype is currently undergoing tests, in preparation for its eventual role as a reconnisance, surveillance, and remote weapons platform. Ground operators will be able to control the Taranis UAV (named after the Celtic god of thunder) from anywhere in the world.