UK’s Scavenger ISTAR Requirement Revealed

Contributor:  Defence IQ Press
Posted:  07/02/2010  12:00:00 AM EDT
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Tags:   Mantis | Scavenger | Reaper

The U.K. MoD has recently launched its Scavenger ISTAR requirement with the aim of down-selecting a winning UAV design in 2012. The Scavenger UAV will be optimised for deep and persistent ISTAR beyond the UK’s existing General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper armed UAV. The down-select will, of course, depend on the outcome of the UK’s Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), which is due to be concluded by September 2010. Scavenger will be a sub-element of a wider ISTAR project, now known as Soloman, but previously entitled Dabinett and intended to improve the analysis and dissemination of intelligence.

BAE Systems plans to offer its Mantis autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for the Scavenger requirement. The sole example of the Mantis UAV has been returned to BAE’s Warton Aerodrome in Lancashire following a series of flight trials in Australia during 2009. BAE Systems is taking part in feasibility studies funded by the MoD into collaborative work on Mantis-class UAVs, with France and Italy as potential Scavenger contenders.

The next phase of Mantis will depend on the Scavenger down-select. It is unlikely that Mantis will fly again because the flight-test programme of the MoD-funded Advanced Concept and Technology Demonstrator (ACTD) project for the system is complete. The Mantis programme involved five mission-representative flights, including a “blind” search to test the system’s ability to find and identify targets at day and night, as well as its ability to track mobile targets. These flights showed that Mantis had the potential to fly missions of up to 36 hours’ endurance.

However, the U.K. is also considering the MQ-X, U.S. Reaper follow-on project, as an option. A UK or European solution for Scavenger UAVs would, of course, enhance prospects for long-term development of BAE Systems’ UAV business.

Defence IQ Press Contributor:   Defence IQ Press

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