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Smiths Aerospace teams w/ BAE Systems to develop £124 Million UAV Technology Demonstrator Programme
By Robotics Trends Staff - Filed Dec 17, 2006
More Security and Defense stories
Under a contract awarded by the UK Ministry of Defence, BAE Systems will be the industry lead and prime contractor of a joint £124 million programme to develop Taranis.

BAE Systems, Smiths Aerospace, Rolls-Royce and QinetiQ, will work alongside MoD staff and scientists to develop and fly Taranis. Smiths Aerospace will provide the complete electrical power system for Taranis, along with its fuel gauging capability.

Named after the Celtic God of Thunder, Taranis will explore and demonstrate how emerging technologies and systems can deliver battle-winning capabilities for the UK armed forces.

The four-year Taranis project, part of the UK Government’s Strategic Unmanned Air Vehicle (Experimental) Programme [SUAV(E)], will result in a UAV with fully integrated autonomous systems and low observable features.

John Ferrie, President of Smiths Aerospace, said: “We welcome this important project and are delighted to be contributing our extensive capabilities in vehicle systems which draw on our leading edge digital and electrical power technologies.”

About the size of a BAE Systems Hawk, Taranis will provide the MoD with experimental evidence on the potential capabilities of this class of UAV and help to inform decisions on the future mix of manned and unmanned fast jet aircraft.

TARANIS is jointly funded by the UK MoD and UK industry, and will bring together a number of technologies, capabilities and systems to produce a technology demonstrator based around a fully autonomous intelligent system. Ground testing of Taranis is expected to take place in early 2009 with the first flight trials taking place in 2010.

In addition to the existing industry partners, the project will also engage a significant number of other UK suppliers to provide supporting technology and components. Mike Turner, Chief Executive of BAE Systems, said: “This project supports many of the key drivers outlined in the Defence Industrial Strategy – in particular the way in which we, as a nation, continue to develop a sustainable sovereign capability by supporting UK design and engineering skills. This is an important project in light of the way in which military operations are changing.”

Editor’s Notes
BAE Systems, as prime contractor will provide many elements of the Taranis technology demonstrator, including the low observability, systems integration, control infrastructure and full autonomy elements (in partnership with QinetiQ); Rolls-Royce will focus on the next generation propulsion installation for the demonstrator and Smiths Aerospace will utilise their skills in ‘vehicle systems’. The TDP Programme will also use a number of other suppliers, some of which have already been selected, including the supply of flight control computing from BAE Systems Australia, one of the few non UK developments expected in the programme and support from BAE Systems Integrated System Technologies (INSYTE) with C4ISTAR related work.

About BAE Systems
BAE Systems is the premier transatlantic defence and aerospace company delivering a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, information technology solutions and customer support services. With 88,000 employees worldwide, BAE Systems’ sales exceeded 12 billion pounds (US22 billion dollars) in 2005, excluding the Group’s former interest in Airbus.

Smiths Group
Smiths is a global technology company, listed on the London Stock Exchange. Smiths Group is a world leader in the practical application of advanced technologies. Our products and services make the world safer, healthier and more productive. Smiths Group has four divisions: Aerospace, Detection, Medical and Specialty Engineering. It employs 32,000 people and has over 250 major facilities in 50 countries. For more information visit

Smiths Aerospace
Smiths Aerospace is a leading transatlantic aerospace systems and equipment business, with more than 11,000 employees and $2 billion revenues globally. The business holds key positions in the supply chains of all major military and civil aircraft and engine manufacturers and is a world-leader in digital, electrical power, mechanical systems, engine components and customer services. For further information visit

For further information contact:
Andy Bunce, BAE Systems
P: +44 (0)1772-85 2714 Mob: +44 (0)7801 716 448

Jennifer Villarreal, Smiths Aerospace
P: +1 616 241 8643 Mob: +1 616 617 7755

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