BAE Systems is to work with the Royal Air Force’s Air Warfare Centre on a project to integrate the company’s HERTI Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) System into UK military exercises. This will be the first time a fully-autonomous UAV has been introduced into military exercises in the UK.
Called ‘Project Morrigan’, this programme is initially intended to run for two years. It will enable the introduction of BAE Systems’ fully-autonomous HERTI System into progressively more complex military exercises, in order to better understand the contribution autonomous UAV systems can make in the joint battlespace.
The agreement between the Air Warfare Centre’s Unmanned Air Vehicle Battlelab (AUB), the Ministry of Defence, and BAE Systems was signed by Mark Kane, Managing Director of BAE Systems’ Autonomous Systems & Future Capability (Air) and Air Commodore Tim Anderson, Commandant of the Air Warfare Centre (AWC). It marks a significant step forward in the development of UAV capabilities within the UK.
Established earlier this year, the AUB’s Mission Directive is to test, evaluate and develop the potential for UAVs to be integrated into the Joint Operational air environment and deliver effective operational capabilities.
Air Commodore Anderson said: “Through the integration of a HERTI system into existing UK Military exercises and training events, such as the operational flying phase of our Combined Qualified Weapons Instructor training, we plan to derive measurements of capability and potential Tactics, Techniques & Procedures (TTPs) for the integration of UAVs into joint manned / unmanned force structures. These are early stage assessments but they could have a significant impact on the way air warfare capabilities and doctrine develop in future years.”
BAE Systems, which publicly launched the HERTI system at the recent Farnborough International Air Show, has welcomed the opportunity to work in partnership with the AUB.
Mark Kane said: “These joint exercises will provide excellent feedback from realistic operational scenarios back into the rapid engineering process to mature the systems being offered into the market place.”
He added: “The Defence Industrial Strategy makes clear that the UK should be looking at ‘technology that can and should be inserted into future capabilities, directly improving the delivery of military effect’. Our work with the AUB is aimed at achieving exactly this result.”
BAE Systems is the premier transatlantic 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 more than 100,000 employees worldwide, BAE Systems’ sales exceeded GB £15.4 billion (US$28 billion) in 2005.