July 9, 2012 defpro.com
BAE Systems has announced its intention to re-fly the Mantis UAS Concept Demonstrator – this time in UK airspace. This will be the first flight of a UAS (Unmanned Air System) of this class in UK airspace.
Flying Mantis will enable the Company to continue to mature a number of UAS capabilities and technologies, underpinning BAE Systems’ strategy to become a world-class provider of unmanned air systems. The flight activity will support the development of future MALE (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) and UCAS (Unmanned Combat Air Systems) operational capabilities, including the programmes announced at the Anglo-French Summit in February this year. By looking to fly Mantis in the UK, BAE Systems is directly aiming to address the associated challenges of airspace integration and safe operation of an airborne system in accordance with UK rules and regulations.
Over the coming months the Company will be working with the appropriate regulators to fully understand the safety, airworthiness and regulatory frameworks which will enable such a flight to take place in 2013.
The Company is currently looking at a number of potential locations in the UK which meet the trials objectives and will work with a number of agencies on the feasibility, timing and location of the flights. These locations will be selected in full consultation with the relevant authorities.
Tom Fillingham, Future Combat Air Systems Director, BAE Systems said: “We will undertake a further phase of flight trials for the Mantis but this time rather than going overseas we have given ourselves the challenge to conduct the trials in the UK. To secure our position as a provider of key capabilities in the unmanned market it is necessary that we continue to develop key skills and capabilities. Learning from the re-flight of Mantis will be used in future UAS programmes, including our partnership with Dassault Aviation.”