Farnborough: Defence and aerospace company BAE Systems has unveiled a full-scale model of an UAV,and also revealed initial details of project Mantis, an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) which it is developing for the UK's ministry of defence (MoD). The project, on which work began late last year, aims to develop a long endurance UAV for the UK armed forces.
The project is being developed under an advanced concept technology demonstrator (ACTD) contract.
The Mantis is capable of carrying GBU-12 laser-guided bombs and Brimstone missiles on six weapon pylons.
The Mantis features twin-props, a multi-sensor turret and radar under its fuselage, and a satcom antenna in the upper nose section. The T-tailed UAV uses a triplex flight control system, and appears to be in the same league as the Reaper hunter-killer UAV presently deployed in Afghanistan by the RAF.
The design and manufacture of the twin-engine Mantis and the associated ground control infrastructure is already underway. Assembly, vehicle ground testing and infrastructure integration testing will take place later this year, with first flight currently scheduled for early 2009.
Wind tunnel testing of the design have already been completed.
BAE Systems is also displaying the Herti and its armed Fury derivative alongside the Mantis, with other unmanned systems modelled in the company's display hall, including an autogyro design called Ampersand at the Farnborough Air Show.
The ACTD is jointly funded by MoD and the companies involved in the programme. The cost sharing arrangement is still the subject of ongoing discussions. Companies partnering on the project include Rolls-Royce, QinetiQ, Selex Galileo, GE Aviation and Meggitt.