FalconWorks celebrates milestone flight, announces new partnerships

By Tim Aldred

15 Sep 2023

FalconWorks

FalconWorks, a new unit within BAE Systems’ Air Sector focusing on research and development into cutting-edge combat air capabilities, is celebrating a string of achievements in its first few months of operation.

FalconWorks was formed in July in response to the increasing pace of technological change and evolving threat environment facing military customers around the world.

The business supports major programmes such as Typhoon and Tempest and also collaborates with SMEs and academia to deliver rapid concepting of new products and services, which air force customers need to maintain their edge.

In recent weeks, the unit achieved the first stratospheric flight of PHASA-35, BAE Systems’ High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS) UAS. This milestone has advanced the company’s understanding of the science and climatological conditions required to make operations in the stratosphere possible and repeatable.

FalconWorks has now signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with leading sustainable aircraft technology developer, Hybrid Air Vehicles to explore new ways of communicating and gathering intelligence. 

Together they will explore the potential defence and security applications of its ultra-low emissions aircraft, Airlander, which has the ability to operate from any reasonably flat surface and the potential to stay airborne for up to five days while fitted with up to ten tonnes of computing, communications, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.

The FalconWorks team has also announced a new framework agreement with QinetiQ, which will see both parties collaborate on autonomous Uncrewed Air Systems (UAS) and mission management systems.

They will explore the potential to collaborate and develop a family of UAS, managed by a FalconWorks-developed common goal-based autonomous mission management system, which will be interoperable with existing and future crewed and uncrewed systems.

And UAVTEK, a UK specialist in the manufacture of small UAS, has teamed up with FalconWorks, signing a Memorandum of Collaboration to explore leveraging its complementary UAS technologies.

The focus will be exploring how to maximise the parties’ capabilities in the micro UAS market, initially around the nano Bug UAS, and the potential defence and security applications of the technology.

Dave Holmes, managing director of FalconWorks, BAE Systems’ Air Sector, said: “Defending our freedom is becoming ever more unpredictable – the only constant is change. The creation of FalconWorks is a reflection of the changing environment and our goal to ensure innovative technology development is at the core of everything we do.

“This new division builds on our established expertise in world-leading combat air programmes such as Typhoon, F-35 and Tempest to unlock opportunities to expand our portfolio and deliver the breakthrough technologies which keep our customers ahead.”

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