Air Platforms

MBDA unveils Spectre combat UAV concept

20 September 2018

MBDA’s Spectre combat UAV concept firing the Enforcer lightweight guided weapon system. Source: MBDA

MBDA in the United Kingdom has unveiled a new combat unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) concept designed to provide on-call, low-cost organic precision effects close air support for forward-deployed land forces.

Spectre is a tilt wing, electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) combat air system concept capable of quickly transitioning to forward flight mode for rapid traversal over complex terrain at low altitude.

Designed with an integrated modular payload bay capable of incorporating systems up to 25 kg, Spectre can be equipped with either two MBDA Enforcers or a single Missile Moyenne Portee (MMP) multirole weapons system to address light armoured, soft-skinned and unmanned threats, or heavier armoured threats.

The Spectre system can ‘find and fix’ beyond line-of-sight threats in complex operational environments to assist deployed ground forces. It also incorporates a ‘watch and wait’ mode with a top attack capability effectively giving the Spectre an overwatch/loitering munition utility.

Other mission module options include re-supply payloads, improved sensors, or electronic warfare payloads. The latter payload can be combined with kinetic effects to disrupt adversary operations.

Spectre’s various mission modules can be replaced by the operator in-theatre, and the system design provides for the integration of new and upgraded modules and technologies and requirements evolve.

As currently envisaged, Spectre will have a cruise speed of 180 km/h, a cruising altitude of less than 100 m, and combat range in excess of 10 km with a flight endurance of more than 60 minutes. The Spectre design provides for two (front and aft) 2 m tilt wings, with four rotor assemblies: one on each wing. The all-up weight of the concept system has not been disclosed. Other features include automatic navigation, operator-over-the-loop command and control (but with firing authority always with the human operator), and anti-jam GPS navigation. Spectre can be used as a single system, or as a scalable co-operative swarming capability.

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