The systems aspects of an uninhabited tactical aircraft (UTA) preliminary design are detailed. The study, performed at the post‐graduate level at Cranfield University, looks to investigate the feasibility of unmanned combat aircraft in a number of roles to reduce the risk to pilots and reduce life cycle costs (LCC). The scope of the work includes stealth, vulnerability, mission effectiveness, avionics, landing gear, secondary power, fuel systems, propulsion, performance and cost. The unusual depth to which the design work progressed enables insights to be gained that far exceed those available at the conceptual design phase. A Northrop Grumman concept of near‐identical configuration has subsequently reached the public domain.
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