UKMOD invests in future combat air systems

The Min­istry of Defence signed a new £40m con­tract with BAE Sys­tems yes­ter­day to ensure the UK retains a lead­ing edge in the next gen­er­a­tion of com­bat air sys­tems.

An RAF Reaper Unmanned Aer­i­al Vehi­cle taxi­ing at Kan­da­har Air­field (stock image) [Pic­ture: Cor­po­ral Steve Bain, Crown Copyright/MOD 2009]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge
Tara­nis, a pro­to­type unmanned com­bat air­craft of the future, was unveiled by the MOD in 2010. Above is a com­put­er gen­er­at­ed artist’s impres­sion of the sys­tem. [Pic­ture: BAE Sys­tems 2010]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

The four-year Future Com­bat Air Sys­tem (FCAS) focused research con­tract aims to sus­tain and devel­op the UK’s crit­i­cal tech­nol­o­gy and skills in this field. It will inform the MOD’s unmanned air sys­tem strat­e­gy over the com­ing decades to ensure that the best use is made of these new technologies. 

Cur­rent­ly, the vast major­i­ty of unmanned air­craft fly­ing is sur­veil­lance and recon­nais­sance in sup­port of front line troops, pro­vid­ing them with vital intel­li­gence, and help­ing to save lives in Afghanistan. 

Fol­low­ing yesterday’s announce­ment, a sig­nif­i­cant amount of the fund­ing is expect­ed to go to small and medi­um-sized enter­pris­es across the UK, widen­ing the sup­pli­er base and ensur­ing the MOD has access to the best nation­al and inter­na­tion­al technologies. 

The Min­is­ter for Defence Equip­ment, Sup­port and Tech­nol­o­gy, Peter Luff, said: 

“I am com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing sus­tained sup­port for sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy across all aspects of Defence. As part of our ongo­ing invest­ment, the Min­istry of Defence has and will con­tin­ue to invest in aero­space sec­tor projects like this to ensure that we devel­op and main­tain the UK’s for­mi­da­ble strengths in this spe­cial­ist field.” 

Dr Nick Joad, who heads up the Defence Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy Laboratory’s Air Domain, said: 

“This is an impor­tant step in ensur­ing that the MOD con­tin­ues to devel­op its capa­bil­i­ties in this area, and is able to exploit poten­tial­ly game-chang­ing technologies. 

“We have worked very hard with BAE Sys­tems to ensure that we have a high impact pro­gramme, and look for­ward to see­ing the fruits of this invest­ment of both mon­ey and intel­lec­tu­al capital.” 

Tom Fill­ing­ham, BAE Sys­tems Direc­tor for Future Com­bat Air Sys­tems, said: 

“The award of this con­tract is great news for the BAE Sys­tems and Defence Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy teams that have been work­ing, since the begin­ning of this year, to devel­op the pro­gramme to address crit­i­cal tech­nol­o­gy require­ments for future Unmanned Com­bat Air Systems. 

“It is recog­ni­tion by the UK Gov­ern­ment of the skills and capa­bil­i­ties that have been devel­oped with­in BAE Sys­tems over the last ten years.” 

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK 

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