BAE Systems has revealed a conceptual design for a future stealthy naval vessel optimised for the launch, operation and recovery of unmanned systems - potentially including operational unmanned combat air vehicles - which it says could enter service in the post-2020 timeframe.
Drawing heavily from the design of BAE's new Type 45 destroyer for the UK Royal Navy, the notional UXB Combatant is pictured configured with twin flight decks suitable for helicopter and unmanned air vehicle operations, including one with a variable pitch ski jump to deploy short take-off systems.
© BAE Systems
BAE, which has researched the concept in partnership with companies including Rolls-Royce, says the 8,000t UXV design could provide a "cost-effective solution" to naval customers seeking the ability to operate "large numbers of small unmanned vehicles for extended periods".The UK's Taranis UCAV demonstration project has, meanwhile, moved a step closer, with BAE having released CAD models of the design to suppliers ahead of first metal being cut in late September. Assembly activities will commence before year-end