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BAE Systems launches FalconWorks to explore ‘what comes after the next'

The new FalconWorks will be an advanced agile research and development centre for the Air sector of BAE Systems and will include efforts such as the Tempest and Global Combat Air Programme. (BAE Systems)

BAE Systems has stood up the new FalconWorks division within its Air business to explore “what comes after the next”, the head of the new unit, Dave Holmes, told Janes and other defence media at the company's Warton site on 3 July.

Holmes said the new unit, which was stood up within the company earlier in 2023 but which was announced to the wider public on 10 July, is to be an advanced agile research and development (R&D) centre for the Air sector of BAE Systems, delivering a range of “cutting-edge” combat air capabilities to the UK and its allies.

“We want to be setting the trends [at BAE Systems] and not just keeping up with the trends,” Holmes said. “If [the Future Combat Air System] FCAS is next, what comes after it in the 2060s, 2070s, and 2080s?”

Holmes explained the three principal planks of FalconWorks are innovation, collaboration, and concepting, saying, “Research, concepting, and development is where FalconWorks will major – we want to avoid the ‘Valley of Death', where great ideas in academia never make their way into becoming a fieldable solution for the customer.”

As noted by Holmes, FalconWorks will cover things that fly as well as things that do not fly but which still sit in the Air sector for all branches of armed forces, security forces, and parapublic forces. “We want to deliver for our customers an unfair advantage,” he said.

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