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We Are Family - BAE Systems Developing Autonomy Across Air, Land And Sea


Farnborough, UK - BAE Systems is demonstrating its air, land and sea autonomous capabilities at this year’s Singapore Airshow, underlining the company’s approach to developing unmanned technologies across all three domains, using common systems and system architectures.

The company’s stand (L23) will feature the HERTI and Kingfisher unmanned air vehicles, the underwater platform Talisman and the Bowler Wildcat, a 4x4 test-bed vehicle currently being used to develop technology for autonomous land-based operations. Each platform shares common system technology where applicable and is being used to inform developments in other autonomous programmes across BAE Systems.

Each vehicle has been developed for operations in different environments but they all share common technology, systems architectures and can operate through a single Consolidate Mission Control System (CMCS).

“One possible use for these systems is joint operations with both manned and unmanned systems. Integrating common technologies, and employing a single command and control system, enhancing interoperability and contributing to reduced training, support and upgrade costs in the future,” said Simon Jewell, BAE Systems Director of Strategic Business Development. “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.”

“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.”

“This approach has seen us achieve high levels of technological maturity in little more than three years. For example, HERTI has already been deployed to Afghanistan with the Royal Air Force as part of an ongoing programme named ‘Project Morrigan’,” continues Jewell. “This interaction with the front line is vital as it 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 front line commands.”


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