BAE Systems tests vertical-takeoff UAV

LOS ANGELES, Calif., 13 April 2005. BAE Systems has achieved the first untethered flight of its second-generation ducted-fan unmanned aerial vehicle.

LOS ANGELES, Calif., 13 April 2005. BAE Systems has achieved the first untethered flight of its second-generation ducted-fan unmanned aerial vehicle.

The vertical-launch aircraft, built for risk reduction on the DARPA Organic Air Vehicle Class II (OAV II) program, twice completed a course of 10 waypoints at Southern California's Hansen Field.

The seven-minute flight of the ducted-fan aircraft, similar to a design the company is fielding as part of DARPA's OAV II competition, followed more than 100 tests conducted with a safety tether over the past several months.

"This flight validates our approach to fulfilling the OAV II mission and punctuates what has been a highly successful flight test program," said Tom Hyde, director of UAV programs for BAE Systems Platform Solutions.

BAE Systems in late 2004 received a multimillion-dollar DARPA contract to participate in the first phase of the OAV II program. The contract calls for the company to design a UAV for operation in diverse missions such as environment reconnaissance and surveillance, path-finding for friendly ground vehicles, maneuver force protection, and targeting for non-line-of-sight fire operations.

BAE Systems developed the aircraft as part of an independent R&D effort to design and demonstrate a family of ducted-fan UAVs. The ducted-fan design shrouds the fan, making it ideally suited for company- and platoon-level operations in which takeoffs and landings occur in close proximity to the warfighter.

The three-phase program is intended to yield a vehicle of sufficient maturity to transition into an Army System Development and Demonstration program to fulfill the Army's requirement for a Class II UAV. Three suppliers have fielded designs during the program's first phase. During the second phase, scheduled to begin in June, DARPA will proceed with exercising options with one or more contractors.

BAE Systems is an international company engaged in the development, delivery, and support of advanced defense and aerospace systems in the air, on land, at sea and in space.

BAE Systems North America is one of America's foremost national security, aerospace, and information systems companies. It is a leading provider of electronic and information-based systems and knowledge-based solutions that meet its customers' mission effectiveness and operational safety needs. BAE Systems North America employs more than 30,000 people at sites across the United States and the United Kingdom and generates more than $5 billion in annual sales. For more information, see www.na.baesystems.com/platformsolutions.

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