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Mothership for unmanned vehicles looks to the future


BAE Systems has developed a new concept warship, the UXV Combatant, designed to operate in a future battle space dominated by land, sea and air unmanned vehicles.

Using a proven naval hull form to launch, operate and recover large numbers of small unmanned vehicles for extended periods, the UXV plays the role of mother ship - a permanent base and control centre for the futuristic unmanned land, sea and air vehicles before, during and on completion of their missions. The 8000-tonne vessel, an evolution of the multi-role warship, is not expected to enter service until post 2020.

The design provides a cost-effective solution to the evolving challenges facing the modern navy. Features will include:

* Flexible and efficient twin flight decks
* Variable ski jump
* Rotary aviation facilities
* Below-deck hangar
* Smart munitions

The weapons are a future development of the Type 45 combat suite. With the UXV support capability, performing multiple roles combined with an easily adaptable design, which moves the concept of stealth to the next level.

Propulsion options include full integrated electrical propulsion with twin propeller shafts/motors supplied by gas turbine and diesel alternators. Alternatively, cruising power can be supplied by two shafts/motors and diesel alternators with boost power from one gas turbine driving two water jets.

The concept brings together naval technologies developed through collaboration with partners such as Rolls Royce and across BAE Systems business units, as part of a programme of continuous improvement.


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