British CORAX UAV Joins UCAV Trend
Defense Tech reports on BAE Systems’ CORAX Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV), an unmanned fighter with stealth features whose early models look somewhat like the USA’s Darkstar technology demonstrator. DefenseTech offers a quick background that draws on behind-the-wall material at Jane’s, explaining some of the key differences and where CORAX fits into the UK’s long term plans.
The program has been superseded by the Taranis project
Both CORAX and Taranis display some resemblances to the USA’s J-UCAS program and platforms (Boeing’s X-45C, Northrop Grumman’s X-47B Pegasus), whose fate is uncertain in the coming Quadrennial Defense Review, and the European NEURON UCAV that has now confirmed participation from France’s Dassault, Sweden’s Saab (building on their SHARC program), and Spain’s EADS CASA. Greece, Switzerland, and possibly Italy are also slated to join the NEURON program, which is intended in part to keep Europe’s aerospace industrial design base occupied now that no new fighter programs are scheduled until 2030 or so.
Additional Readings & Sources
- Air Force Technology – Taranis Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) Demonstrator, United Kingdom. The successor to CORAX, and a number of other projects besides.
- Space News Business Report (April 17/06) – U.K., BAE Systems Divulge Details on Six UAV Programs. Good for placing Corax in context.
- DefenseTech (Jan 19/06) – UK Stealth Drone Unveiled
- The Register (Jan 16/06) – UK lifts lid on unmanned stealth aircraft
- Aviation Week & Space Technology (Dec 17/05) – British Defense Industrial Strategy Secures BAE Systems as U.K. Champion. Note that Corax is derived from the swept-wing Raven and uses its body, but is not the same aircraft.