The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has contracted Spirit Aerosystems in Belfast to lead the design and manufacture of a prototype ‘loyal wingman’ for the Royal Air Force (RAF).
An artist’s impression of a Mosquito ‘loyal wingman’ being developed for the UK under the wider LANCA programme. (Crown Copyright)
The GBP30 million (USD41 million) award announced by the MoD on 25 January relates to the second phase of Project Mosquito, which is geared at developing and proving a technology demonstrator as part of the wider Lightweight Affordable Novel Combat Aircraft (LANCA) programme.
“[The] UK’s first fleet of uncrewed fighter aircraft [took] a step closer with GBP30 million contract awarded to Spirit Aerosystems, to design and manufacture a prototype capable of providing a battle-winning advantage to the RAF,” the service said on its official Twitter account.
Project Mosquito was first disclosed by the RAF’s Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) in July 2019. At that time, three Phase 1 contracts were awarded to Blue Bear Systems Research, Boeing Defence UK, and Callen-Lenz (Team Blackdawn, partnered with Bombardier Belfast and Northrop Grumman UK). Since this time, Bombardier Belfast has come under the control of Spirit Aerosystems.
Project ‘Mosquito’ is divided into two phases. Phase 1 (also referred to as Phase I) has seen these teams produce a preliminary system design for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and assessm the major risk areas and cost-capability trade-offs for an operational concept over a period of 12 months.
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