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14 Jul 2008 | Ref. FI019

Farnborough, UK – 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 costs.

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 contact:
Andy Bunce, BAE Systems
Tel: +44- (0)1772-85 2714 Mob: +44-(0)7801 716 448

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 384719 Fax: +44 (0) 1252 383947
24hr media hotline: + 44 (0) 7801 71773

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