Sponsored by The British Robotics Seed Fund
27 Jul 21. UK Unmanned Fighter Project Progresses. A UK industry team continues to make progress on the development of a lightweight affordable novel combat aircraft (LANCA) demonstrator for the UK Ministry of Defence. Team Mosquito, let by Spirit AeroSystems Belfast, was selected in January for the £30m ($41m) project. Initially also including Northrop Grumman UK, research and development firm Intrepid Minds was added to the consortium in April as avionics supplier.
Spirit says “work is proceeding at pace” against the project’s target of flying a full-scale demonstrator of the unmanned fighter by the end of 2023.
“The programme’s key milestones are naturally being reviewed as the demonstrator configuration is matured and refined on the path to manufacture and flight test,” says Spirit.
However, Spirit – formerly Bombardier Belfast – declines to say whether the team will also fly any sub-scale prototypes.
“We are currently working on several substantive development activities to support the project’s key demonstration objectives as we work towards the flight-test demonstration,” it says.
In addition, there are no details yet of any other suppliers to the programme, with an engine provider notably absent. Spirit adds:
“As the project matures, we will identify further partners and suppliers as appropriate. We are very happy with the current composition of Team Mosquito. We are confident we have the right partners on board with Northrop Grumman UK and Intrepid Minds, and the developing team, to ensure delivery of the project’s objectives.”
During initial phase-one activity, three teams were selected to produce preliminary system designs for the unmanned air vehicle. These were led by Blue Bear Systems Research, Boeing Defence UK and Callen-Lenz, whose Team Black Dawn also included Bombardier Belfast – a business acquired by Spirit in October last year.
But flight-control specialist Callen-Lenz was a surprise omission from Team Mosquito when it broke cover in January.
The LANCA effort is exploring the potential of using such a platform as part of a future combat air system capability, including as an adjunct – or so-called loyal wingman – to the Royal Air Force’s proposed Tempest fighter. (Source: UAS VISION/FlightGlobal)
26 Jul 21. Aselsan teams up with local shipyard for two new naval drones. Turkey’s largest defense company has partnered with local shipyard Sefine to develop and produce two unmanned surface vessels.
Aselsan and Sefine held a steel-cutting event July 8 for an anti-submarine warfare drone dubbed NB57. They also held a ceremony for the first welding of an anti-surface warfare variant, the RD09.
Under the program, Turkish firm SEFT Ship Design will design the vessels. Armelsan Defence — which specializes in diver detection sonars and is based in Tuzla, a municipality of Istanbul — will supply sonar for the NB57 USV.
Aselsan will provide the 12.7mm STAMP gun systems, and Turkey’s state-controlled missile-maker Roketsan will outfit the surface warfare drone with indigenous missile systems.
Sefine began the USV work in 2019 in cooperation with the Presidency of Defence Industries, Turkey’s defense procurement agency. Aselsan joined the program in 2021.
A news release from Aselsan said the new drones will provide autonomous reconnaissance and intelligence gathering, and fulfill missions such as surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and the protection of bases, ports, critical facilities and high-value surface assets.
The NB57 and RD09 are to reach a maximum speed of 40 knots. They’re also expected to have an operational range of 600 nautical miles and be on duty for four days without replenishment. Both USVs can be transported by cargo aircraft, naval ships or land to the mission area.
In addition to Aselsan’s STAMP automatic gun on both vessels, the RD09 will have two tactical missile launchers developed by Roketsan, while NB57 will be fitted with four lightweight torpedoes of the American-made Mk-46 class. (Source: Defense News)
The British Robotics Seed Fund is the first SEIS-qualifying investment fund specialising in UK-based robotics businesses. The focus of the fund is to deliver superior returns to investors by making targeted investments in a mixed basket of the most innovative and disruptive businesses that are exploiting the new generation of robotics technologies in defence and other sector applications.
Automation and robotisation are beginning to drive significant productivity improvements in the global economy heralding a new industrial revolution. The fund allows investors to benefit from this exciting opportunity, whilst also delivering the extremely attractive tax reliefs offered by the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS). For many private investors, the amount of specialist knowledge required to assess investments in robotics is not practical and hence investing through a fund structure makes good sense.
The fund appoints expert mentors to work with each investee company to further maximise the chance of success for investors. Further details are available on request.