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’WE ARE FAMILY’ – coherent BAE SYSTEMS approach to autonomy pays dividends


Farnborough, UK - BAE Systems is demonstrating its air, land and sea autonomous capabilities at this year’s DSEi, underlining the company’s coherent approach to unmanned technologies, based around deploying common systems and system architectures in all three domains.

The company’s stand will feature displays on the HERTI unmanned air vehicle, its sister underwater platform Talisman and the Bowler Wildcat, a 4x4 testbed vehicle currently being used to develop the necessary technologies for fully autonomous land-based operations. Also featured will be a common control infrastructure, which has already been used in joint unmanned air vehicle/unmanned ground vehicle trials.

“HERTI and Talisman have reached a high level of maturity in little more than three years and can now be deployed in a variety of operational roles. HERTI is already being trialled by the RAF’s Air Warfare Centre in Australia and Talisman has been demonstrated to a number of possible customers,” said Simon Jewell, BAE Systems’ strategic business development director. “Working with customers in this way allows us to adapt our development paths to ensure technologies and vehicles can be deployed, either independently or jointly, in the situations identified and required by the end user.”

Although each vehicle has been developed for operations in markedly different environments they all share common technology, systems architectures and can operate through a single command and control system.

“One possible use for these systems is joint operations with both manned and unmanned systems. We are integrating common technologies, and employing a single command and control system to enhance interoperability and contribute to reduced training, support and upgrade costs in the future,” continued Simon. “It is not enough to simply remove the ’man from the loop’ or relocate vehicle command to an off-board system. Autonomy can only serve a useful function if it offers improved performance, enhanced safety and reduced operating and ownership costs. Our approach and work to date reflects this view.”

Research and development from across BAE Systems has been employed in the company’s autonomy programmes, underlining the common systems approach the company is taking globally.

“Obviously each environment has its own unique requirements but there are common elements in each and we are employing the required technologies where appropriate,” explained Simon. “Concepts such as open system architectures, transferable technology and ’plug and play’ systems will lead to a set of highly adaptable and versatile autonomous vehicles to carry out a number of different tasks on the battlefield.”


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