UK cancels Spirit Mosquito and will no longer have original Loyal Wingman

The UK government has officially canceled the Mosquito, Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) program that was the first step in the LANCA program, the goal of which was to build the original Loyal Wingman that could operate in tandem side by side. to the Lockheed Martin F-35 fleet.

Launched in 2015, Project LANCA had three bidders in 2019 for the design-build phase of the demonstrator: Boeing Defense UK, Blue Bear Systems Research with Team Avenger, and Team Blackdawn (later renamed Team Mosquito), formed by Bombardier Belfast. Now Spirit AeroSystems), Callen-Lenz and Northrop Grumman UK. Mosquito was awarded a £30m contract in January 2021.

“The synthesis of the analysis concluded that it appears that a more useful and higher profitable capacity could be achieved by exploring smaller, less expensive, but still high-capacity additive capabilities.” The Ministry of Defense said in a press release.

“The decision was based on parallel analysis and capability trials conducted by the RAF and the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl),” adds Devins, noting that “a decision not to proceed with a technology demonstration for manufacturing will not affect the broader intent to build a pool of forces that is more capable and effective.” cost feasible, and the “Loyal Wingman” concepts will not be investigated under the Future Air Combat System project.”

“Through Project Mosquito and other experimental activities, the RAF has made significant progress and gained significant value in understanding and harnessing a range of future unmanned capabilities. This decision increases the learning accumulated to date and allows for a change of direction for the LANCA program,” said Air Commodore Jess Holmes, Chief Rapid Capacity Office (RCO).

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“The Office of Rapid Capabilities will rapidly launch activities to follow up on the RAF’s strong commitment to integrating advanced unmanned capabilities into the force mix in the near term with more immediate beneficial value,” he concluded.

The defense adds that “the LANCA program remains focused on the post-2035 capabilities space, where integration through a system-of-systems approach has been a key requirement from the outset.”

Sacha Woodward

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