The U.K. air force has decided to cancel an unmanned combat aircraft technology demonstrator following a review of the project and the Lightweight Affordable Novel Combat Aircraft program.
The decision not to advance Project Mosquito beyond the design stage was informed by capability experimentation and parallel analysis carried out by the Royal Air Force and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, the U.K. defense ministry said Friday.
The analysis concluded that smaller and cheaper alternatives could still be explored.
The RAF’s rapid capabilities office will continue to pursue “loyal wingman” concepts as part of the Future Combat Air System Enterprise program, which is expected to be available after 2035.
The RCO will initiate efforts to “pursue the RAF’s unchanged firm commitment to integrate advanced uncrewed capabilities into the near-term force mix with more immediate beneficial value,” said Air Commodore Jez Holmes, head of RCO.
In January 2021, an industry team led by Spirit AeroSystems won a $32 million contract to design and build an uncrewed fighter aircraft prototype under Project Mosquito. Spirit’s team members were Northrop Grumman and Intrepid Systems.
The aircraft had been expected to fly by the end of 2023 alongside F-35 and Typhoon fighter jets.