BAE Systems and partner company in mini-drone project for military

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BAE Systems, in collaboration with UAVTEK, has developed a “Bug” drone, and delivered the first 30 units to the British Army, which has put it through its paces as part of a trial.

The Bug is an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle weighing 196g – similar to the weight of a smartphone – with 40 minute battery life and a 2km range.

It has a low visual profile to make it hard to see and the ability to fly even in strong winds of more than 50mph.

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It was the only nano-UAV able to cope with the uncompromising weather during a recent Army Warfighting Experiment event hosted by the Ministry of Defence’s Future Capability Group.

The new mini drone being testedThe new mini drone being tested
The new mini drone being tested

James Gerard, principal technologist at BAE Systems’ Applied Intelligence business said: “We delivered the Bug in partnership with UAVTEK, a small business that designs and builds UAVs from its workshop in the Cotswolds.

“Our experience in developing large volumes of secure hardware means we were able to help the team turn the excellent design into a real product which our Armed Forces can use. This kind of collaboration is happening right across BAE Systems and is a great way to quickly get the best thinking from small companies into the hands of military users.”

The teams are now working on the next developments on the nano-UAV, exploring sensing equipment and capabilities which could be added, as well as how the Bug could be integrated with other military equipment.

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James added: “In even the toughest weather, the Bug can deliver vital tactical intelligence on what’s around the corner or over the next hill, working autonomously to give troops a visual update.

“Combined with our other information advantage products, this video feed could be shared multi-domain, enabling commanders on land, sea and air to increase their situational awareness and inform their decisions.”

Innovations at the annual AWE event explore emerging technologies. Emphasis is placed on innovations which push the boundaries of technology and military capability, putting them in the hands of the user while giving invaluable feedback to suppliers.