Spirit AeroSystems has been awarded a £30 million contract by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to design and manufacture an uncrewed fighter aircraft prototype in a three-year deal supporting more than 100 jobs in Belfast.
The uncrewed combat aircraft will be designed to fly at high-speed alongside fighter jets, armed with missiles, surveillance and electronic warfare (EW) technology to provide a battle-winning advantage over hostile forces. Known as a ‘loyal wingman’, these aircraft will be the UK’s first uncrewed platforms able to target and shoot down enemy aircraft and survive against surface to air missiles.
Under the contract, Spirit AeroSystems from Belfast, Northern Ireland will lead Team MOSQUITO in the next phase of the Project. Utilizing ground-breaking engineering techniques, the team will further develop the RAF’s Lightweight Affordable Novel Combat Aircraft (LANCA) concept, with a full-scale vehicle flight-test programme expected by the end of 2023.
Team MOSQUITO, which also includes Northrop Grumman UK, will mature the designs and manufacture a technology demonstrator to generate evidence for a follow-on LANCA programme. If successful, Project Mosquito’s findings could lead to this revolutionary capability being deployed alongside the Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35 Lightning jets by the end of the decade.