HERTI on deployment in Afghanistan
The deployment of the BAE Systems HERTI UAV system into an operational environment has been hailed a success by both the RAF and BAE Systems - partners in the unique Project Morrigan.
The RAF deployed a HERTI system, one of the world's first fully autonomous unmanned air vehicles (UAV), in Afghanistan this summer as part of Project Morrigan, a joint initiative between the RAF Air Warfare Centre and BAE Systems. Launched in September 2006, it aims to integrate HERTI UAV systems into UK forces for a short period in order to develop potential Tactics, Techniques & Procedures for the integration of HERTI's capabilities into existing joint manned/unmanned force structures.
Commenting on HERTI's role in Afghanistan Wing Commander Mike Humphreys, Officer Commanding of the RAF's UAV Battlelab, said: "Whilst the objectives and outputs from the exercise remain classified, the HERTI system has been successful in demonstrating its capability in an operational environment. Both the RAF and BAE Systems are satisfied with the progress and development of the project thus far and we look forward to building on this in the coming months".
With its ability to take off, complete a full mission and land - all at the click of a computer mouse - HERTI has been designed to meet a wide variety of operational needs both cost effectively and with extremely high levels of reliability whilst removing the need for an operator or pilot to control the aircraft from the ground.
The HERTI UAV is one of a family of unmanned air vehicles (UAV) being developed by BAE Systems through its Autonomous Systems and Future Capability, Integrated System Technologies and Australian businesses. Through this work, BAE Systems has been able to translate high levels of autonomy into increased operational effectiveness.
Initially a concept demonstrator, HERTI's first flight was achieved in December 2004 using common systems, powerplants and ground stations with other BAE Systems UAV programmes. It builds on previous major achievements where BAE Systems has flown six different UAVs over the last five years. These included the first, and still the only, fully autonomous flight by a UAV in UK airspace with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) clearance.
Mark Kane, Managing Director of Autonomous Systems and Future Capability at BAE Systems said: "What we have done in developing HERTI is to produce a platform that is affordable, built to meet operational needs, and which will offer levels of reliability that up until now will have only been available in manned aircraft. The key to HERTI is that we have developed a capability and task driven system that will deliver high levels of operational performance in a wide range of different roles. Project Morrigan,and our own trials have given us further confidence that HERTI is uniquely placed to meet customer requirements around the world."