Droneing on and on
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BAE Systems Mantis, shown in full-scale model form, is armed with GBU-12 laser-guided bombs and Brimstone missiles on its six weapon pylons. The twin-prop, T-tailed vehicle is equipped with a multi-sensor turret and radar under the fuselage, and a satcom antenna in the upper nose section. It employs a triplex flight control system. The vehicle appears to be in the same class as the Reaper hunter-killer UAV, which the RAF currently flies in Afghanistan.
The Mantis is being developed as an advanced concept technology demonstrator, jointly funded by the UK Ministry of Defence. Industrial partners include Rolls-Royce, QinetiQ, Selex Galileo, GE Aviation and Meggitt. Design and manufacture of both the air vehicle and its ground infrastructure is already under way, with an aim to fly early next year.
The Mantis benefits from BAE Systemsâ€™ experience in low-cost advanced construction techniques, and provides for plug-and-play options for testing different systems. It brings together technologies and capabilities to demonstrate the potential of a large UAV to support the UKâ€™s operational needs.
BAE Systems has embarked on a focused strategy to become a major player in the multibillion-dollar U.S. market. On display alongside the Mantis are the Herti and its armed Fury derivative. Other unmanned systems are shown in model form in the companyâ€™s display hall, including an autogyro design called Ampersand.