Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) are becoming ever more important assets on the battlefield, undertaking an increasingly wide range of surveillance or combat missions without risking the lives of aircrew and with performance beyond more conventional manned systems. In 2009, as part of the UK MOD’s ‘Capability Visions’ initiative, Cranfield Aerospace (CAe), in partnership with Frazer Nash, successfully completed a research contract to study radical new UAS concepts, aimed at delivering a major step change in key military capabilities.

Now as part of the follow-on work, CAe has just completed a further six month concept refinement study, funded by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), part of MOD, this time working closely with MBDA and BAE Systems. The purpose of this study was to further refine the concepts, examine the through life cost and management and to better understand the cost versus capability trade-space.

Commenting on the award, David Gardner, Managing Director of CAe, said “We are delighted to have the opportunity to undertake this extremely important follow-on contract and we are pleased that Dstl has given us the opportunity to show the military advantage, in capability and cost, that can really be achieved with new and radical thinking applied to the UAS solution.”

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