Military Combat UAV Updates – Drones the Future of Warfare

An integral component of air warfare in the future looks to be unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAV) like the X47B, Taranis, nEUROn, and Sharp Sword combined with Swarm Drone types of systems.

READ MORE: Swarm Drone systems

Let’s take a closer look at the UCAV systems under development.

X-47B (U.S.)

Navy X-47B drone

The Northrop Grumman X-47B is a demonstration unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) designed for aircraft carrier-based operations, capable of semi-autonomous operation and aerial refueling.  In April 2015 it successfully conducted the world’s first fully autonomous aerial refueling, rendezvousing with an Omega Air KC-707 tanker
Here are some of the specifications for the X-47B


  • Maximum speed: Subsonic
  • Cruise speed: Mach 0.9+ (high subsonic)
  • Range: 2,100+ NM (3,889+ km)
  • Service ceiling: 42,000 ft (12,190 m)

  • 2 weapon bays, providing for up to 4,500 lb (2,000 kg) of ordnance

The above video shows the X47B going through various test flight operations, including carrier launch and landing and in-air refueling.

Source: Wikipedia

Taranis (U.K.)

The British BAE Systems Taranis was designed to demonstrate the ability to create a system capable of undertaking sustained surveillance, marking targets, gathering intel, deterring adversaries and carrying out strikes in hostile territory.
Here are some of the specifications for the Taranis


  • Maximum speed: Mach > 1 (final version)

  • 2 x internal missile bay provision

Source: BAE Systems and Wikipedia

nEUROn (France/Euro)

The Dassault nEUROn is an experimental unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) being developed with international cooperation, led by the French company Dassault Aviation.  The nEUROn program is designed to validate the development of complex technologies representing all mission systems, including high-level flight control and stealth and launching real air-to-ground weapons from an internal bay.


  • Maximum speed: 980 km/h (609 mph)
  • Service ceiling: 14,000 m (45900 ft)

  • 2 × 230 kg (500 lb) guided bombs

Source: Dassault Aviation and Wikipedia

READ MORE: Top 10 Military Drones list