Visitors to the BAE Systems pavilion here at Farnborough are being greeted by a model of a UCAV (unmanned combat air vehicle) representing a notional shape that could one day be a joint Anglo-French design. The UCAV model reflects the UK group’s refocusing of its show presence on “air” products, and the hugely important part unmanned systems are expected to play in the company’s future.
BAE Systems announced this week that its Mantis Male (medium-altitude, long-endurance) unmanned technology demonstrator is to fly again, starting next year. The UAV first flew on Oct. 21, 2009, and undertook a short and successful flight trials campaign from the remote Woomera base in South Australia. The vehicle returned to BAE Systems Warton and has been laid up since.
Here at the Paris Air Show, Dassault and BAE Systems have joined forces to display a mockup of the UK company’s Mantis medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV technology demonstrator. The combined exhibit highlights the recent agreement between the two companies to codevelop the Telemos UAS to meet the needs of both British and French armed forces.
Many of the invited guests who witnessed the unveiling of the Taranis unmanned combat air vehicle at BAE Systems’s Warton plant last week won’t have
Last weekend BAE Systems concluded the first flight trial campaign of its Mantis UAV, the world’s first twin-engine autonomous large UAV. Although the UK Ministry of Defence remains coy about details, AIN understands that the first flight was on October 21, and that the aircraft flew five times.
Civil certification of unmanned aerial vehicles has taken on new momentum over the past few years with the realization that there could be a large number of potential uses for them–from law enforcement to, eventually, air cargo. A UK-based European consortium now claims to be leading the world to get UAVs approved for flights in civil airspace in conjunction with Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority.
This promises to be a milestone year for BAE Systems’ growing unmanned air systems business with the first flights of both the demonstrator for the Mantis persistent ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance) aircraft and of the production-standard Herti. On top of this, the UK group will complete manufacturing of its new Taranis demonstrator.
Last week Marshall Specialist Vehicles delivered a second ground control station shelter to BAE Systems Integrated Systems Technologies (Insyte) for use with the Herti unmanned air system. Marshall SV’s 14-foot shelter is sized for air deployment by the short-fuselage Hercules version, which can also transport the air vehicle.
BAE Systems unveils the Mantis UAV at its outdoor exhibition site today. The Mantis, shown in full-scale model form, is armed with GBU-12 laser-guided bombs and Brimstone missiles on its six weapon pylons. The twin-prop, T-tailed vehicle is equipped with a multi-sensor turret and radar under the fuselage, and a satcom antenna in the upper nose section. It employs a triplex flight control system.
While European governments preach greater collaboration in defense research and development, three competing programs for uninhabited combat air vehicles (UCAVs) have been officially funded. Yet the aim of all three is to preserve the European high-technology base and develop important capabilities such as low-observability and autonomous control, independent of the U.S.
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