BAE‘s Unmanned Combat Vehicles

Reaper drops first precision-guided bomb, protects ground forcesThe future of defense protection has moved towards further production of robotic aircraft. BAE has released the Mantis as a testing program for Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle technology. Having its first flight in 2009, this experiment is partnered with many aerospace companies for the successful change in tactical aerial combat.

The Mantis found its design origins in late 2007. This twin turboprop aircraft is powered by Rolls-Royce and is designed for 24 hour endurance as an autonomous vehicle. Currently aircraft design for the Mantis is in the Phase 1 process to focus on the rapid prototyping of materials and the control systems of autonomous flight.

The Mantis isn’t the only aircraft currently being developed in the UK for unmanned flight. In 2007 the Taranis prototype has been launched into development. The primary purpose of this UAV is to fly across continents with weapons capability to attack ground and aerial targets of its choice. The design of this aircraft is for stealth purposes with the body shape resembling a modern version of the B-2 bomber.

The release of these two unmanned aircraft shows a dedication to technological development. With the success of drone aircraft for reconnaissance purposes at the turn of the 21st century, the capabilities of unmanned aircraft are becoming very useful. Combat aircraft that can be monitored by satellite and have long operational life gives the RAF or other interested nations to evolve defensive capabilities. Knowing this technology is nearing development completion, UK defense ministries can utilize UCAVs before deploying human pilots into hostile environments. The initial investment of developing these two aircraft will help save money for future aircraft development and hopefully reduce the amount of global conflicts.