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UK seeks mobile launcher for tactical UAVs, possibly for Ukraine

The Ukrainian Ukrspecsystems PD-1 is likely the UAV that the UK is now looking to launch from the back of a civilian-type trailer or flatbed pickup truck. (Ukrspecsystems)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is seeking to acquire a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) portable solution for the launching of tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) of varying configurations.

A request for information (RFI) issued on 2 May calls for a system that can launch a UAV with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 40 kg from a civilian-type trailer or flatbed pickup truck.

As noted in the RFI, the solution should launch the UAV at a velocity of 25 m/s and an MTOW of 75 kg at 35 m/s; have a launch g -force that can be adjustable in the field with no special tools, or the maximum launch force should be able to be preset before deployment; have sufficient clearance from the launch mechanism to the propeller to launch a platform of a pusher-propeller configuration; be either mounted on a trailer that is movable by a civilian 4×4 with standard tow hook as a minimum, or is preferably mountable to the cargo bed of a 4×4 pickup-type vehicle; be provided with operating, maintenance, and repair training material with spares packages and field repair options; and be available for test/demo within the UK within three weeks of contract award.

With the objective of the RFI to explore existing solutions available in the market, a formal request for proposals will be issued at a later date.

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