skip to main content

DSEI 2021: UK earmarks 2023 for first Mosquito ‘loyal wingman' flight

An artist's impression of the Mosquito loyal wingman. The chief of the RAF says that the first flight in national airspace will take place by the end of 2023. (Crown Copyright)

The United Kingdom expects to fly the Mosquito ‘loyal wingman' it is developing as part of its wider Future Combat Air System (FCAS) for the first time in national airspace in 2023.

In his keynote speech to the DSEI defence exhibition in London on 15 September, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, said that the Mosquito unmanned aircraft being developed as a loyal wingman to the Tempest future fighter will fly in UK skies by the end of 2023. While noting that this milestone relates to the first flight in UK skies, ACM Wigston did not say if the actual first flight of the Mosquito might take place earlier in foreign skies.

Being developed under the Lightweight Affordable Novel Combat Aircraft (LANCA) project, the Mosquito is part of the wider FCAS that has the Tempest optionally piloted combat aircraft at its core. Other elements will include Alvina swarming drones and other legacy platforms networked together in the future battlespace by means of a Combat Cloud. Separate to the Mosquito that is being developed for the Royal Air Force (RAF), the Royal Navy is reported to be advancing its own loyal wingman called Vixen.

For the loyal wingman role, the Mosquito would be launched from airfields, Airbus A400M ‘mother ships', or aircraft carriers, and serve as force multipliers to the Tempest. They will be able to perform a range of roles, such as weapons carriers and/or decoys, and may even serve as weapons themselves.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...