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14 Jul 2008 | Ref. FI011/2008

Farnborough, UK - BAE Systems is harnessing its company-wide expertise in unmanned air systems (UAS) as part of a sharply focussed strategy to become a major player in what is poised to become a multi-billion dollar a year international market.

The newly formed global UAS strategy team, headed by Mark Kane, who leads the Company’s UK UAS activities, will allow the individual strengths of BAE Systems’ businesses around the world to support each other in securing UAS contracts in the Company’s home markets and beyond.

The market for military unmanned air vehicles is growing so fast that estimates of its size become out of date almost as soon as they are published. The Global UAS Strategy Team is aiming to make sure that in coming years, an ever increasing portion of that business comes to BAE Systems.

Mark Kane feels people need only look at the news bulletins to see why unmanned systems are increasingly being relied on. “Conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq are proving that many dull, dirty and dangerous operations can be done by unmanned systems and using them means people are kept out of harm’s way.”

Kane said forecasts in recent years have consistently underestimated the growth in the market, but the current belief is that within five or six years, BAE Systems’ current customers will be spending $10bn a year on military unmanned air systems. He feels BAE Systems is well positioned to secure a larger market share because of its much more advanced technology, particularly with regard to autonomous operations.

“As a company, we have not got drawn into the ‘me too’ group of unmanned air vehicles,” he says. “We have skipped a generation and whereas most current UAVs are remotely piloted or have some automatic functions, ours are fully autonomous. They can take off, undertake a mission, identify targets and come back entirely on their own.”

Central to BAE Systems approach is limiting through-life costs of operation. The ‘footprint’ of a BAE Systems UAS is far smaller than most systems now in use, leading to significant cost savings. “We have all worked to make what has traditionally been complex and difficult, simple. From the ground stations we make to the vehicles we produce, everything is intuitive and simple to use,” states Mark Kane.

BAE Systems’ UAS team will tap into the Company’s global expertise and capabilities to ensure this cost effective approach is adopted across its global business, ensuring that expenditure is not duplicated and that technology and best practice are shared.

It is Mark Kane’s belief that even with the recent growth in the UAV market, the greatest opportunities will come from 2010, when existing equipment begins to reach the end of its life and a new round of procurement decisions will be necessary. The challenge for BAE Systems, he concedes, is to understand now how BAE Systems can best leverage its global capabilities and position itself to take advantage of the business opportunities that become available.

About BAE Systems
BAE Systems is the premier global defence and aerospace company delivering a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, information technology solutions and customer support services. With 97,500 employees worldwide, BAE Systems' sales exceeded £15.7 billion (US$ $31.4 billion) in 2007.


For further information, please contact:
Andy Bunce, BAE Systems
Tel: +44 (0) 1772 852714; Mobile: +44 (0) 7801 716448

John Neilson, BAE Systems
Tel: + 44 (0) 1252 384795 Mob: + 44 (0)7802 337704

Issued by:
BAE Systems, Farnborough, Hampshire GU14 6YU, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1252 384605 Fax: +44 (0) 1252 383947
24hr media hotline: + 44 (0) 7801 717739

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