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14 Jul 08. BAE Systems has entered into a jointly funded 1st phase of a programme with the UK Ministry of Defence to develop an Unmanned Autonomous System (UAS) that will help shape technology development for the UK’s future UAS capability.

The Mantis UAS Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrator programme will bring together technologies, capabilities and systems that will demonstrate the potential of a large unmanned aircraft to support future UK Operational needs. Phase one of the programme will see BAE Systems working alongside the MOD and key UK industrial parties including Rolls-Royce, QinetiQ, GE Aviation, SELEX Galileo and Meggitt.

The design and manufacture of the twin-engine Mantis and the associated ground control infrastructure is already underway. Assembly, vehicle ground testing and infrastructure integration testing will take place later this year, with first flight currently scheduled for early 2009.

Mark Kane, Managing Director of Autonomous Systems and Future Capability at BAE
Systems, said: “Mantis is another important step forward in the development of
UAS capabilities in the UK. The aim is to prove that the integrated technologies
on Mantis, that build on several years autonomous UAS experience within BAE
Systems and the wider UK industry, can provide the tangible military capability
and levels of performance required for future UK UAS Operations.”
On behalf of the UK MOD, AVM Simon Bollom, DG Combat Air, commented: “Mantis is
an Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrator that will provide an opportunity to
exploit emerging technologies, capabilities and systems. Its rapid development
will provide indicators of how we can improve the acquisition process to deliver
capability swiftly into fast changing military environments. A development
programme such as Mantis will also help maintain UK indigenous capabilities in
this fast evolving area. We expect to see positive early results before deciding
about further investment in a longer term programme.”

The Mantis benefits from low-cost advanced construction techniques developed on earlier BAE Systems UAS programmes and provides for a wide range of “plug and play” systems and equipment, as well as enabling flexible external stores carriage. A triplex flight control system will give high system reliability and integrity, with full exploitation of onboard autonomy reducing operator workload and increasing system performance. The novel design will also explore how low logistical footprint and ease of support could reduce through-life operating

Rolls-Royce has been selected to power a new UK Ministry of Defence Unmanned Autonomous System (UAS). The Mantis Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrator programme will help inform the UK’s future UAS capability.

Rolls-Royce is working in conjunction with BAE Systems, who are leading the Mantis programme, to lead the development of an Integrated Power System (IPS) which integrates the twin engines and propellers and associated sub-systems. This capitalises on the company’s expertise in the field of turboprop propulsion.

Martin Fausset, Rolls-Royce Managing Director – Defence Aerospace, said:
“Our involvement in the Mantis programme demonstrates a significant milestone in the delivery of the Rolls-Royce integrated power capability and further improves our ability to take advantage of the many opportunities that are likely to arise in this exciting market.”

QinetiQ as a Tier 1 supplier to BAE Systems will contribute to the development of an airborne Unmanned Autonomous System (UAS) that will inform technology development for the UK’s future UAS capability.

Fury armed UAV

BAE Systems also announced the launch of the Fury armed UAV. Following the successful guided launch of a live weapon during recent trials, the BAE Systems
Fury armed reconnaissance and close air support UAS (Unmanned Autonomo

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