UAVs provide front line units with vital real-time intelligence without the need for conventional air support. Until now, the ability to rapidly deploy these platforms by individual platoons has been restricted to very small systems (typically weighing 3-5 kg) which have limited capability, BAE Systems says in a press release received by defenceWeb.
The new device, developed under a programme code-named ‘Project Artful`, is simple, easy to use, and portable. It allows UAVs of up to 25 kg in weight to be paired with a mortar-based launch mechanism, which has European and world-wide patents pending.
‘Project Artful` was initially developed by BAE Systems` Military Air Solutions business, based in North West England, but quickly grew into a partnership involving a number of small and medium enterprises including IBEX Ropes, Cranfield Aerospace and Blue Bear Systems Research. The Company`s Land Systems business was also part of the ‘Project Artful` team.
A key goal was to develop a method of reducing the enormous forces produced by the mortar launch to a level survivable by the UAV.
Rebecca Darby, a graduate engineer for BAE Systems explains that by “developing and applying scientific methodologies that hadn’t been used in this area before, we were able to design an innovative UAV launch mechanism.”