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posted on May, 3 2006 @ 01:36 PM
hi, ive just been browsing back in this forum and there's not much talk of UCAV's:-

ive just really created this thread for members to post links of there favorite ucav projects they are looking forward to.

i would also like to know what projects the UK is involved in? i'm suprised the mod never got involved with the european ucav project (neuron):-

it looks like we've missed out there.

posted on May, 3 2006 @ 02:19 PM
Hehe, this is about the only subject I post on lately

The UK’s UCAV work goes back to 1996/97 when the Future Offensive Aircraft programme was reorganized into the Future Offensive Air System, both meant to find a replacement for the Tornado in the strike role. In addition to manned aircraft the new programme looked at cruise missiles and unmanned combat air vehicles.

A number of demonstration projects were (and are being) conducted aimed at developing technologies and concepts of operation; an unmanned version of the 1994 Replica/Testbed fifth generation strike aircraft TDP was studied, the Chameleon project studied visual and acoustic signature reduction techniques in the mid 1990s with flight testing being undertaken using a surrogated Hawk. In 2000 the MoD began the Nightjar TDP which was used to develop the UK’s understanding of future airframe design; this consisted of a ground based testbody at BAE Warton. Overall between 1997 and 2005 the MoD spent £115m on FOAS, a conservative third of that would have been directed towards UCAV specific technology development.

I’ll have to make a second post on SUAV(E) because I can’t post more than 4000 characters.


In 2005 the MOD again reorganised FOAS and split it into the FCAC and SUAV(E) programmes. The latter is meant to fulfil the original mandate of FOAS and will be based on platforms on order or already in service (Typhoon, F35, Storm Shadow).

SUAV(E) will follow a twin track development programme, the first strand focuses on the concepts of operation and interoperability of UCAVs in a coalition environment along with issues surrounding such systems as there cost effectiveness and there military benefit . This will be carried out in conjunction with the US under the US/UK Coalition Warfare System Demonstration programme, unofficially referred to as Project Churchill, which was announced on 16 March 2005 following the signing of an agreement on 21 December 2004. This agreement followed four years of US/UK collaborative research, led by DSTL, in the air systems sector.

The second strand is aimed towards maturing the UK’s technical capability in the strategic UAV arena via a substantial technology demonstration programme. This will allow the UK to make more informed decisions regarding UAVs in the future while at the same time sustaining and developing the UK’s defence aerospace industry.

Project Churchill

This joint Anglo-American project will be based at the U.S. Air Force's Simulation and Analysis Facility at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base with DSTL managing the British contribution. Each year the partners aim to answer a question, set by a joint US/UK steering group, via workshops and experimentation and demonstration of concepts in a virtual environment. This will culminate in 2009 with a joint “effectiveness demonstration involving live and virtual manned and unmanned assets from both nations operating in a networked coalition warfare scenario”. Though it has been confirmed that this will involve British UCAV concepts it is unknown as to whether or not this will take the form of an actual BAE Systems’ UAV such as the low observable Raven. Churchill is jointly funded by the US and UK for $100m with both parties contributing $50m each. The programme will end in July 2009 and no technology transfer is expected to take place.

The recent restructuring of J-UCAS has led to speculation that Project Churchill may have been cancelled however reports suggest that cooperation will survive, however whether this will remain in its current form or not is unknown.

Part two coming in a minute!

[edit on 3-5-2006 by Mike_A]

posted on May, 3 2006 @ 02:24 PM
Technology Development and Demonstration

In mid to late 2005 the MoD awarded BAE Systems a risk reduction contract covering a range of issues relating to UAV/UCAV technology, systems and integration. Facilitating this BAE Systems has put together a comprehensive industry team comprising of BAE Systems Air Systems (programme lead), BAE Systems Insyte (control infrastructure integration), Rolls Royce (power plant), Qinetiq (autonomy) and Smith Aerospace (power distribution systems). Work is based on BAE Systems’ Raven UAV and other TDPs such as Nightjar. The value of this contract has not been disclosed.

In December 2005 the MoD published the much anticipated Defence Industrial Strategy in which it set out its perceived requirements for the future. With this came the recognition that unmanned aircraft would form a large part of the UK’s future combat and ISTAR capability; for this reason it was announced that the MoD would invest in a substantial UAV/UCAV technology demonstration programme with an agreement to be signed with BAE Systems in 2006.

Details of this TDP are currently under negotiation with funding and commercial arrangements, among others, yet to be agreed; however it is currently planned that the programme will be a UK only initiative with funding being provided by both the Ministry of Defence and industry and will run for approximately four years. It is expected that the project will result in the development of a single demonstrator vehicle similar to the Boeing X-45 or the European Neuron UCAV systems and that selected information could be shared with the UK’s European ETAP (European Technology Acquisition Programme) partners.

Though aimed primarily towards developing defence applicable technologies it is anticipated that certain areas of research will be directly transferable to the civilian sector. Such areas that could potentially be enhanced include advanced structures, materials and construction techniques as well as the integration of unmanned autonomous systems into the wider civil airspace.

Industry Development

BAE Systems has been doing its own work in regards to UCAV (and other UAV) development. The most notable being Raven.

More details on BAE’s work in this area can be found on my site…

posted on May, 3 2006 @ 04:25 PM
I have been greatly annoyed over recent years at BAE'a apparent desire to distance itself from any kind of project that actually flies, such as its axing of all domestic commercial work and now its divesting itself of its share in Airbus and as for military aircraft it even offered a revamped Hawk to the RAF rather than go to the trouble of designing a new competitor for the M.346 and Mako. Its latest display of 'disinterest' centres around the fact that it is not even going to tender for the RAF's Tucano replacement and the Pilatus PC.21 is hot favourite. "A simple trainer for gods sake!" was my reaction at the time.

Have I now seen the light though? Is all of this just an illusion brought about because whereas the natural successors to ageing aircraft would become apparent in the past, now it is all super secret UCAV work that will reap huge rewards in years to come and will see a UK designed and built UCAV in full scale production?

I hope so because the alternative is that my despair was well placed and I am now merely clutching at straws.

posted on May, 3 2006 @ 05:01 PM
hey cool, thanks for those details and the link to your website, from there ive done some searhing and found out some links


(raven) (larger)


(eclipse) - really hope soemthing comes out of these

so it seems us brits do have a few tricks up its sleeve (i thought the french was taking over in europe for a minute)

ive found nothing on the US/UK project churchill, but it sounds promising

would love to see more links in this thread from our american cousins, i'm sure they have a few good things in development

talk to you later

[edit on 3-5-2006 by Sepiroth]

posted on May, 3 2006 @ 11:50 PM
ATS member Bios started a thread that might interest you;

Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) An ATS Analysis & Discussion

Check it out~

[edit on 5-3-2006 by intelgurl]

posted on May, 5 2006 @ 12:58 PM

Originally posted by Sepiroth
hi, ive just been browsing back in this forum and there's not much talk of UCAV's:-

ive just really created this thread for members to post links of there favorite ucav projects they are looking forward to.

i would also like to know what projects the UK is involved in? i'm suprised the mod never got involved with the european ucav project (neuron):-

it looks like we've missed out there.

The thing with UCAVs is that it's not about the individual, it's about the team. Anyone can build a plane that takes off, flies and lands itself which is everyone and their grandmother is trying to build one. The key is in how these work together both tactically and strategically. It's the control and management systems (or more likely .. bribes/kickbacks) that will differentiate winner from loser.

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