Unmanned aircraft heading for UK airspace in new trials

9th Jul 2012 | 07:00

Unmanned aircraft heading for UK airspace in new trials

Release the drones

BAE Systems has revealed that it will be trialling its Mantis UAS Concept Demonstrator in UK airspace for the very first time.

The unmanned craft – or drone to give it its hip-hop name – is set to be the future of combat for the UK, so trials are to begin in 2013 to make sure the unmanned air system is ready for the big league.

Given that it will be flying without a pilot in UK airspace, a number of checks have to be made before the Mantis concept is ready to take the stabilisers off.

There's no word on where in the sky you will be able to spot the drone, but BAE Systems is looking at a number of locations in the UK which will be a perfect fit for the trials.

Mantis

Speaking about the historic venture, Tom Fillingham, Future Combat Air Systems Director, BAE Systems said: "We will undertake a further phase of flight trials for the Mantis but this time rather than going overseas we have given ourselves the challenge to conduct the trials in the UK.

"To secure our position as a provider of key capabilities in the unmanned market it is necessary that we continue to develop key skills and capabilities.

"Learning from the re-flight of Mantis will be used in future UAS programmes, including our partnership with Dassault Aviation."

The Mantis has already been trialled in South Australia, but the area it flew in was rather remote. Flying in the UK, with our airspace being as busy as it is, will be a touch more tasking.

The news comes after the US completed a two-week demonstration of its own drone, the MQ-1C Gray Eagle. The demo was to see if US Airspace would work nicely with the unmanned aircraft.

The idea is that drones will come to US airspace as of 2014 for testing purposes.

If you want to get up close and personal with the Mantis, then it will be at the Farnborough Airshow from 14-15 July.

Mantis BAE Systems drones
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