07 December 2006

Smiths Aerospace teams with BAE Systems to develop £124 million Unmanned Air Vehicle technology demonstrator programme

SMITHS Aerospace, part of the global technology business Smiths Group, has teamed with BAE Systems to develop an Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) technology demonstrator project called Taranis.

Under a contract awarded by the UK Ministry of Defence, BAE Systems will be the industry lead and prime contractor of a joint £124 million programme to develop Taranis.

BAE Systems, Smiths Aerospace, Rolls-Royce and QinetiQ will work alongside MoD staff and scientists to develop and fly Taranis.  Smiths Aerospace will provide the complete electrical power system for Taranis, along with its fuel gauging capability. 

Named after the Celtic God of Thunder, Taranis will explore and demonstrate how emerging technologies and systems can deliver battle-winning capabilities for the UK armed forces.

The four-year Taranis project, part of the UK Governments Strategic Unmanned Air Vehicle (Experimental) Programme [SUAV(E)], will result in a UAV with fully integrated autonomous systems and low observable features. 

John Ferrie, President of Smiths Aerospace, said: We welcome this important project and are delighted to be contributing our extensive capabilities in vehicle systems, which draw on our leading-edge digital and electrical power technologies.

About the size of a BAE Systems Hawk, Taranis will provide the MoD with experimental evidence on the potential capabilities of this class of UAV and help to inform decisions on the future mix of manned and unmanned fast jet aircraft.

TARANIS is jointly funded by the UK MoD and UK industry, and will bring together a number of technologies, capabilities and systems to produce a technology demonstrator based around a fully autonomous intelligent system.

Ground testing of Taranis is expected to take place in early 2009 with the first flight trials taking place in 2010.

In addition to the existing industry partners, the project will also engage a significant number of other UK suppliers to provide supporting technology and components. 

Mike Turner, Chief Executive of BAE Systems, said: This project supports many of the key drivers outlined in the Defence Industrial Strategy in particular the way in which we, as a nation, continue to develop a sustainable sovereign capability by supporting UK design and engineering skills. This is an important project in light of the way in which military operations are changing.

ENDS

BAE Systems

BAE Systems is the premier transatlantic defence and aerospace company delivering a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, information technology solutions and customer support services. With 88,000 employees worldwide, BAE Systems' sales exceeded 12 billion pounds (US22 billion dollars) in 2005, excluding the Group's former interest in Airbus.