Dstl to develop RAF unmanned aircraft concepts
The RAF has announced a new project from the Dstl to develop novel concepts for unmanned aircraft.
The RAF Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) will create new concepts for unmanned aircraft to offer increased capability to F-35 and Typhoon Aircraft. The Lightweight Affordable Novel Combat Aircraft (LANCA) project aims to offer increased protection, information, and survivability for manned planes and even provide ‘fleets’ for the aircraft in the future.
The LANCA project aims to increase innovation by reducing cost and development time. For Phase 1, contracts were awarded to three teams led by Blue Bear Systems Research Ltd, Boeing Defence UK Ltd, and Callen-Lenz (Team BLACKDAWN partnered with Bombardier Belfast and Northrop Grumman UK Ltd).
Under LANCA, a technology demonstrator project known as ‘Mosquito’ has awarded contracts for Phase 1 of the work, which will produce a preliminary system design for an unmanned air vehicle and assessment of the key risk areas and cost-capability trade-offs for an operational concept. Initial flight test of the demonstrator air vehicle could take place as early as 2022.
Phase 1 will explore prototyping, manufacture, novel design, and development and the potential for a future unmanned fleet. LANCA originated in 2015 studies by Dstl to understand innovative Combat Air technologies and concepts that might offer radical reductions in cost and development time.
Dstl is adopting creative processes for the project, including launching a ‘Best of Breed’ competition to access non-traditional suppliers. MOD experts will be assigned to each team in the project to provide support with technical and operational advice and assist decisions.
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