BAE unveils armed robot plane


The new pilotless plane features latest-generation mission systems avionics and a new stores management system.BAE Systems, the global defence and aviation giant with a considerable South African footprint, has unveiled an armed robotic warplane that will help change the way wars are fought.

The Fury is an armed reconnaissance and close air support unmanned aerial system (UAS) that features latest-generation processor-based mission systems avionics, a newly developed stores management system and a previously proven weapon guidance system.

BAE Systems Fury project director Chris Clarkson says the Fury shares components developed for the Herti reconnaissance and surveillance drone currently in use in Afghanistan.

Clarkson says the Fury and its main armament was developed and tested in partnership with Thales UK`s missile business in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

“Fury is an affordable and reliable platform which has the ability to perform a number of military roles,” adds Clarkson. “With a high degree of autonomy, it combines many of the already proven elements of our other unmanned platforms, including a small logistic footprint and low operator workload with a reliable and highly accurate weapon system.”

The Fury will be fitted with a new-generation Thales Lightweight Multi-role Missile, developed from the combat-proven munitions Starstreak missile in use with the British and South African armies.

Clarkson explains target acquisition, designation, tracking, and guidance are performed by the avionics and mission system. Target confirmation and authority to launch the weapon are given by the weapons operator from the ground station, via a high-integrity data link.

Other members of BAE Systems` UAS family include Herti and Taranis, a £124 million unmanned combat air vehicle demonstrator programme.

In addition to production facilities in SA, BAE Systems also supports the SA Air Force`s Hawk lead-in fighter trainer fleet.

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