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BAE SYSTEMS Australian flight systems integration expertise a win for Australian defence force

28 Oct 2002

Engineers from Australia specialising in flight systems integration and integrated logistics support are key members of BAE Systems 'Team Vigilant' bidding for the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence's Systems Integration Assurance Phase (SIAP) of the Watchkeeper Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) programme.

"BAE Systems Australia's involvement in Team Vigilant is building the skills and capability in Australia that will be necessary to design, develop and implement a solution to JP129 Phase 2 - the Australian Defence Force's requirement for tactical UAVs," said Brad Yelland, UAV Programmes Manager - BAE Systems.

"The work BAE Systems Australia is doing now as part of the Watchkeeper programme bid is a win for the Australian Defence Force," he said.

Watchkeeper is the centerpiece of the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence's (UK MoD) plan for a 21st century airborne Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) system. The UK MoD is expected to make a downselect from the current four contenders to two at any time.

Team Vigilant is a BAE Systems-led team that draws on the capabilities of the global BAE Systems group and its world-class industrial partners. The Team's solution for the Watchkeeper programme is the Vigilant system.

Engineers from BAE Systems Australia in Melbourne will support Team Vigilant with flight systems integration work. A group of Australian engineers will also be seconded into the Prime Systems Integration Team based in Rochester in the UK.

The Australian secondees will be responsible for the management of the Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) elements of the Watchkeeper SIAP programme, and for the specification, development and demonstration of the integrated air system.

"The Watchkeeper programme is one of the largest ISTAR UAV programmes to be undertaken in Europe, and probably the largest outside the United States," Mr Yelland said.

"BAE Systems Australia's participation to date in the Watchkeeper programme recognises our UAV and systems integration capabilities. We have developed this capability through our long and successful involvement in the Nulka, Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile and Autonomous Navigation and Sensing Experimental Research programmes," he said.

During SIAP the Australian team will work with AAI and General Atomics to integrate Watchkeeper specific sensors and systems onto the class leading Shadow 200 and Predator UAVs as well as to deliver an integrated air system to the programme. The Shadow 200 and Predator are the two flight platforms proposed under the Team Vigilant solution.

Specifically, the Australian-based team will be responsible for the flight systems integration including;

* development of the airborne reconnaissance management system , which is the autonomous brain of the UAVs
* development of simulation models to support system development and operations
* model based studies and concept designs to understand the vulnerabilities and improve the survivability of the UAVs and the Vigilant system

"The Australian's would also provide input into the development of the Vigilant system architecture. This is a crucial task, which will ensure the Vigilant system can be effectively and efficiently integrated into the British Army," Mr Yelland said.

About BAE SYSTEMS:

BAE Systems is a systems company, innovating for a safer world. BAE Systems employs nearly 100,000 people including Joint Ventures, and has annual sales of around 13 billion. The company offers a global capability in air, sea, land and space with a world-class prime contracting ability supported by a range of key skills. BAE Systems designs, manufactures and supports military aircraft, surface ships, submarines, space systems, radar, avionics, communications, electronics, guided weapon systems and a range of other defence products. BAE Systems is dedicated to making the intelligent connections needed to deliver innovative solutions.

In Australia, the company employs 2,500 people, supports customers at more than 50 locations across the country and has its centre of operations in Adelaide. BAE Systems is a leader in engineering and systems integration and is a major supplier of support services, electronics and software.

About Watchkeeper:

Watchkeeper is the UK Ministry of Defence requirement for an airborne Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) system, which uses unmanned aerial vehicles, equipped with advanced sensors, to deliver imagery intelligence to the Land Component Commander. BAE Systems submitted its bid to the UK Defence Procurement Agency for the next phase of the Watchkeeper programme in mid May 2002.



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