Defence Equipment and Support

Strategic Unmanned Air Vehicles (Experiment) Integrated Project Team

The Strategic Unmanned Air Vehicles (Experiment) IPT, or SUAV(E) IPT is responsible for directing the work required to establish the potential of Unmanned Air Vehicles.

Unmanned vehicle in flight (Picture: SUAVE IPT)

Unmanned vehicle in flight (Picture: SUAVE IPT)

The Capability Gap – DPOC

The Directorate of Equipment Capability Deep Target Attack, DEC(DTA), has a requirement for a Deep and Persistent Offensive Capability (DPOC) to enable the timely engagement of static and mobile, targets deep behind enemy lines. Additionally there will be a capability shortfall created by Tornado GR4 being withdrawn from service around 2025. An Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) is a potential cost-effective solution.

Role of the SUAVE IPT

Operational Analysis and technological evidence is currently too immature to categorical confirm that the capabilities offered by an UCAS will fulfil DEC(DTA)’s requirements. Evidence will be gathered by the Strategic Unmanned Air Vehicle (SUAVE) IPT to develop an Initial Gate Balance of Investment decision around 2011, which will inform decisions on the future force mix of manned and unmanned air vehicles in the 2018 to 2025 timeframe and beyond.

Twin Track Strategy

A key element of the work to inform the BOI is the "Twin Track Strategy" which will explore technology maturity and risks, and gather evidence on cost, interoperability and operational concepts. The twin track strategy consists of two elements:

Project CHURCHILL: A 5 year UK/US collaborative programme, ending in 2010 exploring UCAS, Concepts of Operation, coalition interoperability, Whole Life Costs and technological feasibility (but not technology development or transfer) employing a number of technologies including distributed simulation between UK and US.

Project TARANIS: The UK’s Strategic Unmanned Air Vehicle Technology Demonstrator Programme aims to mature key UAV technologies through integration into a representative air vehicle to deliver future air combat military capability, reduce technical risk and develop new air vehicle manufacturing technologies and processes. The contract was awarded to a BAES led team comprising Rolls-Royce, QinetiQ and Smiths Aerospace in December 2006 and will run to 2010. A key Defence Industrial Strategy project, it will also help to sustain key capabilities in the UK industrial supplier base to support the future fast-jet fleet.

Other Business

In addition to DPOC and the twin track strategy, the SUAVE IPT is also the lead for other UAV projects:

UK REAPER: The acquisition of a PREDATOR B UAV system for Op Herrick by late 07, to provide Full Motion Video for UK Military Commanders in operational theatres of war.

HERTI: The RAF’s Air Warfare Centre has been trialling BAES’ High Endurance Rapid Technology Insertion (HERTI) UAV system (air platform and mobile ground station) with their recently created Unmanned Air Vehicle Battle-lab in Australia under Project “MORRIGAN”. An experimental trial of HERTI is planned, in a surveillance role, in an operational environment.

Page updated: 14 June 07

SUAVE IPT Quick Facts

Team Leader : Mr Jonathan Barrett

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