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UK launches future fixed-wing aircraft study

Concepts such as Boeing's Blended Wing Body could be explored as part of the UK's effort to determine its fixed-wing aircraft requirements of the future. (Boeing)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has launched an effort designed to address its future military fixed-wing aircraft needs.

Published by the MoD on 19 December, the Fixed-Wing Concepts and Technology project will be led by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), and will aim to address the requirements and technologies needed of the UK military's future fixed-wing aircraft programmes.

“To address [the] MoD's future challenges in the air environment, there is a need for continued research and development of fixed-wing aircraft concepts, technologies, and knowledge within the Combat Air, Air ISTAR [intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance], and Air Mobility domains,” the MoD said.

“This project aims to identify opportunities and deliver research and development tasks within the project scope that have high potential benefit to [the] MoD's fixed-wing aircraft programmes. The research and development tasks will be accompanied by holistic concept-level assessments to understand system-level benefits and exploitation paths. The technical scope is airframe structures and manufacturing, aerodynamics, and flight control, including propulsion integration and weapons integration and vehicle systems. A ‘best of breed' approach is required, which should be provided by a consortium that draws upon a broad range of relevant expertise, concepts, and technologies from across the UK industrial base. Dstl is seeking a suitable delivery partner to enable and manage this consortium.”

As noted in the announcement, the initial value of the project is GBP3 million (USD3.7 million). An industry day is scheduled for early February 2023.

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