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It is named after the Celtic god of thunder, can fly faster than the speed of sound and evades enemy radar with its single-wing stealth design.

This is Taranis, Britain’s latest Unmanned combat aircraft, which is capable of even selecting its own targets.

The revolutionary superdrone is due to make its maiden flight in the next few weeks and could spearhead the fight against terrorism in Africa.

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According to the Daily Mail, military chiefs believe Taranis’ ground-breaking technology will allow a powerful new generation of drones equipped with deadly payloads to fly from British bases to attack targets worldwide.


But the new developments in pilotless aircraft are controversial as they allow the possibility of autonomous computers targeting and killing enemy combatants outside of human  control. Last week, Prime Minister David Cameron warned that the fight against terrorism in North Africa could last decades, meaning that futuristic drones could dominate counter-terrorism strategy in the region.

British Forces currently operate armed drones only in Afghanistan, where they target Taliban insurgents. However, a proliferation in mainly US military technology has sparked a drone arms race. To compete, the UK Government has committed itself to a new generation of pilotless aircraft which can fly distances of more than  2,000 miles. The UK Government has committed itself to a new generation of pilotless aircraft

‘It would be very difficult for a human to keep control of teams of these moving at such speed. It could put ours at a disadvantage to others that did not have a human supervisor. This is why we need a global ban on autonomous drones before proliferation begins in earnest.’

But the MoD says the program is designed so that a human will make the final decision on the firing of weapons and that as a ‘demonstrator’ it was far too early to say what role Taranis would have in future combat missions.