LANGKAWI, Malaysia - Fresh from an RAF deployment to Afghanistan, one of the world's first fully developed autonomous unmanned air vehicles (UAV) will makes its Far East debut at LIMA 2007. Developed by BAE Systems, the unmanned air system, known as HERTI, is one of a new generation of UAVs suitable for both military and civil operations.
The RAF deployed a HERTI system in Afghanistan this summer as part of the unique project Morrigan collaboration between the Royal Air Force and BAE Systems. Project Morrigan is a joint initiative between the RAF Air Warfare Centre and BAE Systems. Launched in September 2006, it aims to integrate HERTI UAV systems into UK forces for a short period in order to develop potential Tactics, Techniques & Procedures for the integration of HERTI's capabilities into existing joint manned/unmanned force structures.
Commenting on HERTI's role in Afghanistan Wing Commander Mike Humphreys, Officer Commanding of the RAF's UAV Battlelab, said: "Whilst the objectives and outputs from the exercise remain classified, the HERTI system has been successful in demonstrating its capability in an operational environment. Both the RAF and BAE Systems are satisfied with the progress and development of the project thus far and we look forward to building on this in the coming months".
With its ability to take off, complete a full mission and land - all at the click of a computer mouse - HERTI has been designed to meet a wide variety of operational needs both cost effectively and with extremely high levels of reliability whilst removing the need for an operator or pilot to control the aircraft from the ground.
The HERTI UAV is one of a family of unmanned air vehicles (UAV) being developed by BAE Systems through its Autonomous Systems and Future Capability, Integrated Systems Technologies and Australian businesses. Through this work, BAE Systems has been able to translate high levels of autonomy into increased operational effectiveness.
The HERTI air vehicle and its unique ground control station is showcased at LIMA in its production configuration. When coupled with BAE System' Imagery Collection & Exploitation (ICE) system, the aircraft offers a real potential in the fields of maritime, coastline and border surveillance as well as showing broader potential for areas such as pipeline, plant and infrastructure surveillance, and insurgent detection.
Initially a concept demonstrator, HERTI's first flight was achieved in December 2004 using common systems, powerplants and ground stations with other BAE Systems UAV programmes. It builds on previous major achievements where BAE Systems has flown six different UAVs over the last five years. These included the first, and still the only, fully autonomous flight by a UAV in UK airspace with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Clearance.
Andy Wilson, Sales and Marketing Director of Autonomous Systems & Future Capability at BAE Systems says: "What we have done in developing HERTI is to produce a platform that is affordable, built to meet operational needs, and which will offer levels of reliability that up until now will have only been available in a manned aircraft".
"At LIMA, we will be exhibiting the production configuration vehicle, and the system in which it operates, giving new levels of autonomy and reliability for UAV's. Effectively this is the first of the next generation of this kind of vehicle. HERTI has the ability to offer users both in the military and civil environment a range of capabilities up until now simply not accessible because of either cost or reliability issues".
Mark Kane, Managing Director of Autonomous Systems and Future Capability at BAE Systems further said: "The key to HERTI is that we have developed a capability and task driven system that will deliver high levels of operational performance in a wide range of different roles. Recent trials have given us further confidence that HERTI is uniquely placed to meet customer requirements around the world".
At LIMA, BAE Systems will be able to demonstrate HERTI's unique autonomous mission system capability through a fully operational ground station which will replay, in real time, missions carried out during HERTI's extensive flight test programme. This includes mission planning, vehicle monitoring and sensor exploitation.
BAE Systems is the premier global defence and aerospace company delivering a full range of products and services for land, air and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, information technology solutions and customer support services. With 96,000 employees worldwide, BAE Systems' sales exceeded £15 billion (US $27 billion) in 2006 on a pro forma basis, assuming BAE Systems had owned Armor Holdings Inc for the whole of 2006.
BAE Systems HERTI Makes Far East Debut at LIMA 2007