Anti-Submarine Torpedo Launched from Heavy-Lift UAS in NATO Exercise

BAE Systems, alongside partner Malloy Aeronautics, demonstrated the launch of an inert Sting Ray training variant anti-submarine torpedo from a T-600 heavy-lift unmanned aerial system (UAS) during an exercise in Portugal By Joe Macey / 29 Sep 2023
BAE T-600 capabilities demonstrated during NATO exercise
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BAE Systems and Malloy Aeronautics have demonstrated the capabilities of the T-600 heavy lift uncrewed air system (UAS) at a NATO exercise in Portugal.

During the multinational exercise, the demonstrator aircraft released an inert Sting Ray training variant anti-submarine torpedo during a flight mission at sea for the first time.

The exercise, known as REPMUS (Robotic Experimentation and Prototyping with Maritime Uncrewed Systems) involved 15 NATO partners, along with Ireland and Sweden, provides a safe and controlled area to test concepts, requirements, new and advancing technologies in respect of Maritime Uncrewed Systems.

The aircraft, capable of vertical take-off and landing, is electric-powered, can carry payloads of 200kg, reach speeds of 140km/h, and has a range of 80km depending on the payload. Designed to be easily disassembled for transportation, the aircraft is around the size of a small car.

The T-600 demonstrator is designed to develop, validate and display technologies which may be applied to the T-650, a completely new design of an all-electric heavy lift UAS which will offer rapid reconfiguration capabilities applicable to military, commercial and humanitarian uses. The T-650 will provide significant capabilities in the areas of automated logistics and resupply, casualty evacuation and anti-submarine warfare whilst reducing the environmental impact of armed forces.

Neil Appleton, BAE Systems Air Head of Sustainable Electric Products, said; “In just two years since we launched our collaboration with Malloy, we’ve developed a heavy lift UAS and working with the UK Royal Navy and Portuguese Navy, have taken part in the latest NATO REPMUS exercise. The demonstration showcased the capability of our T-600 technology demonstrator, carrying an inert Sting Ray torpedo in front of the world’s premier naval forces. It’s a fantastic achievement in our collaboration with Malloy and a sign of our joint ambitions to bring new capabilities to our customers.”

Dave Quick, Head of Underwater Weapons, BAE Systems Maritime Services, said; “Our development of Sting Ray Mod 2 is focussed not only on weapon effectiveness once deployed but also in increasing the ways in which Sting Ray can be deployed. As part of this we are extending the breadth of platform interfaces supported, and are maturing new torpedo deployment mechanisms, including drones, to explore the operational benefits to Anti-Submarine Warfare and or Anti-Torpedo defense.”

He continued; “Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (UAS) can be quick to launch and easy to carry. They represent another opportunity to keep higher cost assets and their crew out of harm’s way and will have an increasing ASW role alongside crewed helicopters and dedicated ASW surface vessels. UAS launched Sting Ray would enable torpedo capability to be carried by a variety of naval platforms, providing increased operational flexibility for the use of Sting Ray.”

Oriol Badia, CEO of Malloy Aeronautics, added: “At Malloy Aeronautics, we are committed to turning concept ideas into real capabilities fast. Our smaller T-150 UAS have been tested and operated for years by the UK MoD and US DoD, but the T-600 has gone from concept to operational demonstrator in record time for a vehicle in this payload class. The collaborative success seen at REPMUS adds to the list of promising capabilities being tested with this platform (last-mile resupply and CASEVAC), and proves that modular, multi-mission UAS can reduce the logistics burden and increase operational tempo at a fraction of the cost.”

The T-650 programme sits within FalconWorks, a new center for advanced and agile research and development within BAE Systems’ Air sector, designed to deliver a range of cutting-edge combat air capabilities to the UK and its allies.

The demonstration at REPMUS is the result of the engineering expertise of the BAE Systems Air sector and Maritime Services collaborating to find new and novel ways to combine emerging technologies, alongside Malloy Aeronautics, L3 Harris and General Dynamics UK, who were all partners in the demonstration.

L3Harris and General Dynamics UK have both supported the demonstration as part of a multi-organisational partnership by providing the GnatHD carriage and release system and Distributed Stores Management control system respectively. These advancements in technology have further unlocked the possibility of weapons integration on heavy-lift UAS.

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Posted by Joe Macey Connect & Contact
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