Having been packed up in an RAF Boeing C-17 airlifter, the BAE Systems Mantis UAV technology demonstrator is now being put back together at the test range in Woomera, Australia. Hopefully this time everything has made it to the correct destination.
BAE is a frequent user of the Woomera test range – but shipping can still prove a challenge.
The Woomera range was used for weapon firing trials of the company’s Fury UAV – an armed variant of the Herti – in 2008. While the platform made it to the range with all the requisite parts – some of the ground support equipment continued beyond the destination.
On reaching Adelaide an uninterruptable power supply for the Fury ground station was somehow re-embarked on a vessel bound for New Zealand. This could have provided a considerable hitch in the proceedings – however the company’s local representatives managed to find a replacement.
Some of the lessons learned from the Fury program and the firings are feeding into the Mantis effort. While the first phase of the Mantis effort does not include weapons firing, this is a core ambition for the second stage of the program, which could begin in the second half of the year.
Bill Sweetman adds: Another photo of the Mantis mock-up, from Aero-India:
They'd better not crash-land near Roswell, NM., or they'll never hear the last of it.
Picture Credit 1) D.Barrie/AW&ST 2 and 3) BAE Systems 4) Bill Sweetman