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Aero India 2023

BAE Systems' Mantis makes international debut

Mantis. BAE systems

BANGALORE (BNS): For the first time, visitors to the Aero India show will get a glimpse of the BAE Systems vision of the future capability of autonomous Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) when its MANTIS system goes on display. MANTIS is BAE Systems’ first genuine fly-by-wire, all-electric controlled aircraft; and there are no hydraulics allowing the system to be broken down to fit into a C130 Hercules making it extremely deployable. MANTIS is designed to be a real workhorse with “plug and play” elements in the mission system and the ability to carry a wide range of sensors.

Andy Wilson, Business Development Director with Autonomous Systems and Future Capability at BAE Systems, said: “India has a projected large requirement for UASs and is currently expanding its UAS operations. UASs are expected to play a significant role in reconnaissance and long endurance surveillance missions in India and the MANTIS System is a large next generation highly capable system that is ideally suited to work of this kind.”

Andy added: “MANTIS is designed to carry out intelligence gathering at long distances. It’s a large platform with a wingspan of over 20 metres and it carries a significant payload in terms of sensors and potential weaponry. This phase of the programme will demonstrate that we have the capability to meet future operational needs.”

Jointly funded by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and UK industry, MANTIS will exhibit its capability at the air show. Officials said that MANTIS is a fully autonomous next generation UAS, which flies on its own and the payload automatically detects and manages all target information. Autonomy greatly increases the effectiveness of operations by allowing commanders to focus on the overall task not vehicle control. This allows significantly reduced workload and manpower for operations, reduces risk of accidents due to human error and reduces communications/data link requirements between the vehicle and the ground, they said.

Final assembly of the first aircraft is well underway and this will be followed by a period of ground testing to help prepare it for its first flight, which is due to take place over the next few months, the officials added.

During phase I of the programme, BAE Systems has been working alongside the UK MOD and key UK industrial parties including Rolls-Royce, QinetiQ, GE Aviation, SELEX Galileo and Meggitt.

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