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A ‘INVISIBLE’ unmanned fighter jet has carried out its second successful test flight, it has been announced.

Taranis, named after the Celtic god of thunder, has been worked on by BAE staff at it’s Lancashire bases in Samlesbury and Warton.

During the latest tests, it flew in a fully ‘stealthy’ configuration, making it virtually invisible to radar.

The team changed all antennas on the aircraft to signature control variants and the air data boom on the nose was removed for the tests.

It used a specially designed system that allowed the aircraft to generate a full set of flight data, without the use of an external probe or boom.

Billed by military chiefs as the most technologically advanced aircraft ever built in the UK, the project has cost more than £185 million so far and funded jointly by the Ministry of Defence and UK industry.

When operational, the plane will be able to launch precision strikes in hostile territory while remaining undetected.

Taranis was first unveiled in July 2010, but remained classified until earlier this year.

During the tests, the aircraft also used a new communications system to stay in touch with its mission commander without giving away its position to the enemy.

Nigel Whitehead, group managing director of BAE Systems, said: “The first flight of a Taranis last year was a significant milestone for UK aviation and this latest development underlines the UK’s lead in unmanned air systems.

“The engineering data gathered from the latest phase of trials will help us develop the stealth technologies on Taranis further.”

Philip Dunne MP, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, said: “The success of these test flights is an important milestone for the Taranis project.

“We are gaining vital insights into the potential of unmanned aircraft, and this knowledge will shape future capabilities and help reduce the risks faced by military personnel on the frontline.”

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