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BAE to fly T-650 heavy-lift UAS in drive to electric propulsion

Seen at its unveiling at the DSEI exhibition in late 2021, the T-650 heavy-lift UAS should fly for the first time in the coming weeks. (Janes/Richard Fowler)

BAE Systems plans to fly the T-650 all-electric heavy-lift unmanned aircraft system (UAS) that it first unveiled in September 2021 in the coming weeks, a company official said on 24 May.

Neil Appleton, head of Electric Products, BAE systems, told Janes and other defence media that it will fly a demonstrator version of the T-650 that it is developing with Malloy Aeronautics before the end of the third quarter of 2022.

First showcased at the 2021 DSEI exhibition in London, the T-650 is an electrically powered heavy-lift UAS capable of lifting 650 lb (295 kg) out to a range of 30 km (or a radius of 15 km), at 140 km/h. As Appleton noted, BAE envisages a range of applications for the UAS, including automated resupply, casualty evacuation, anti-submarine warfare using the Sting Ray torpedo, maritime mine countermeasures using the Archerfish expendable mine clearance ordnance, maritime search and rescue, surveillance tasks, and close air support.

The flight test will be used to prove the technology and the concept, to see if it is then feasible to take to market. “Is it credible, and is it useable? – those are the questions the customer will ask,” Appleton said.

With Berkshire-based Malloy Aeronautics developing the core technology for the T-650 as part of a wider family of electric-powered UASs, BAE Systems will lead the effort to ‘militarise' the capability.

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