£142.5m Combat Aircraft Unveiled It may look like the stuff of science fiction but this unmanned jet could be the combat craft of the future. Named Taranis, after the Celtic god of thunder, the £142.5 million prototype has been unveiled by the Ministry of Defence. Dubbed the "pinnacle" of British engineering and aeronautical design, it is the size of a light aircraft and has been equipped with advanced stealth technology making it virtually undetectable. Almost invisible to ground radar, it is designed to travel at high jet speeds and cover massive distances between continents. The plane is built to carry out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance on enemy territory using onboard sensors. And it has been designed to carry a cache of weapons - including bombs and missiles - giving it a potential long-range strike capability. It can be controlled from anywhere in the world with satellite communications. Experts say the cutting-edge design is at the forefront of world technology and as advanced as any US development. Gerald Howarth, minister for international security strategy, said: "Taranis is a truly trailblazing project. "The first of its kind in the UK, it reflects the best of our nation's advanced design and technology skills and is a leading programme on the global stage." The jet was unveiled at a ceremony at BAE Systems in Warton, Lancashire. Flight trials are due to start next year.