BAE Systems Celebrates Milestones at New Combat Air Research Facility

FalconWorks, a new unit within BAE Systems’ Air Sector focusing on advanced and agile research and development into cutting-edge combat air capabilities, is celebrating key milestones just two months since launching By Joe Macey / 19 Sep 2023
BAE FalconWorks combat air research facility
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BAE Systems’ FalconWorks division and Hybrid Air Vehicles, a sustainable aircraft technology developer, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore new ways of communicating and gathering intelligence. 

At DSEI, the team at FalconWorks also announced a new framework agreement with QinetiQ, which will see both parties collaborate on autonomous Uncrewed Air Systems (UAS) and mission management systems.

UAVTEK Limited, a UK specialist in the manufacture of small UAS, also teamed up with FalconWorks this week, signing a Memorandum of Collaboration to explore leveraging its complementary UAS technologies.

This follows FalconWorks’ celebration in recent weeks of the first stratospheric flight of PHASA-35, BAE Systems’ High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS) UAS. This milestone has advanced the Company’s understanding of the science and climatological conditions required to make operations in the stratosphere possible and repeatable.

Launched in July, FalconWorks is a new unit within BAE Systems’ Air Sector focusing on advanced and agile research and development into cutting-edge combat air capabilities. It was formed in response to the increasing pace of technological change and evolving threat environment facing military customers around the world.

The business supports major programmes such as Typhoon and Tempest and also collaborates with SMEs and academia to deliver rapid concepting of new products and services, which air force customers need to maintain their edge

Dave Holmes, Managing Director of FalconWorks, BAE Systems’ Air Sector, said; “Defending our freedom is becoming ever more unpredictable – the only constant is change. The creation of FalconWorks is a reflection of the changing environment and our goal to ensure innovative technology development is at the core of everything we do. This new division builds on our established expertise in world-leading combat air programmes such as Typhoon, F-35 and Tempest to unlock opportunities to expand our portfolio and deliver the breakthrough technologies which keep our customers ahead.”

The arrangement with QinetiQ will explore the potential to collaborate and develop a family of UAS, managed by a FalconWorks developed common goal-based autonomous mission management system, which will be interoperable with existing and future crewed and uncrewed systems, enabling militaries to generate operational effects and providing a concentration of combat air power.

The MoU with Hybrid Air Vehicles will see FalconWorks explore the potential defense and security applications of its ultra-low emissions aircraft, Airlander, which has the ability to operate from any reasonably flat surface and the potential to stay airborne for up to five days while fitted with up to ten tonnes of computing, communications, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.

BAE Systems’ agreement with UAVTEK will focus on exploring how to maximize the parties’ capabilities in the micro UAS market, initially around the nano Bug UAS, and the potential defense and security applications of the technology.

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