Dubai Airshow 2019: SAMI, BAE Systems collaborating on HAPS

by Charles Forrester

Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) and BAE Systems are collaborating on the development of the PHASA-35 high-altitude pseudo-satellite (HAPS) system.

“We have an agreement with BAE Systems to make this a completely Saudi indigenous programme,” SAMI CEO Andreas Schwer told Jane’s on 19 November.

SAMI is currently in the process of defining when and how the programme could be launched prior to formally proceeding with a decision on the system, with both technical and customer requirements being worked on ahead of a potential launch. The concept is expected to be finalised over the next year, at which point the business case will be frozen ahead of a potential procurement.

A concept model of the PHASA-35 HAPS being developed between BAE Systems and SAMI exhibited at the Dubai Airshow. (Charles Forrester/IHS Markit)

A concept model of the PHASA-35 HAPS being developed between BAE Systems and SAMI exhibited at the Dubai Airshow. (Charles Forrester/IHS Markit)

“If the customer base by that point is solid, we will start with it,” Schwer said. He went on to add that the technology could mean that it is a case where Saudi Arabia could “instantly” become an aircraft or platform original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for a significantly cutting-edge technology.

“It’s a compromise between a space-based platform and a classical UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle],” Schwer said, adding that it “offered unique capabilities with stratospheric, high-endurance local platform for different types of missions, such as surveillance or data and communications relay.”

Furthermore, the high-altitude operation meant that the platform would be difficult to interdict by hostile actors.

A concept model of the platform under development for Saudi Arabia was displayed in the SAMI booth at the Dubai Airshow. The proposed system features two electric motors and an electro-optic gimbal.

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/dubai-airshow-2019-sami-bae-systems-collaborating-on-haps

Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) and BAE Systems are collaborating on the development of the...

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