A concept of a future variant of BAE Systems’ highly successful Hawk aircraft has flown for the first time at the Company’s military aircraft facility in Warton, Lancashire. Equipped with a new type of pilot display, a redesigned wing and defensive aids, the Advanced Hawk will meet market requirements for the next generation of fast jet training aircraft.
Whilst the existing Hawk continues to be the world’s most successful jet trainer, the Advanced Hawk concept demonstrator builds on these proven successes. The concept demonstrator features an upgraded cockpit equipped with BAE Systems’ LiteHUD (a low-profile head-up display) and a new, large area display that introduces a new student/pilot training experience. It also features a redesigned wing that increases performance in areas such as turn rates, angles of attack and both take-off and landing.
Other technology advances include increased stores capability, a new set of defensive aids and a range of new flight systems, all aimed at ensuring Hawk continues to provide the edge in fast jet pilot training, as well as offering increased operational utility.
The first flight of the aircraft builds on its public debut at Aero India 2017 in Bangalore earlier this year.
Steve Timms, Managing Director Defence Information, Training & Services at BAE Systems said: «The successful first flight of the Advanced Hawk concept demonstrator is the latest step in the aircraft’s development and marks a significant milestone in Hawk’s capability upgrade. We already have the world’s leading advanced jet trainer and the new features in Advanced Hawk have been developed after listening to our customers’ views on where fast jet pilot training will go in the future and how we ensure the Hawk continues to meet their requirements. By using this demonstrator aircraft, we have highlighted to existing users of Hawk that many of the proposed features of an Advanced Hawk, such as the large area display and new wing, could be achievable as upgrades».
The aircraft will now undergo a series of flights to collect test data on the new key capability enhancements.
BAE Systems and Helios Global Technologies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to further develop liquid armour technology.
In tests this bullet proof style ‘custard’ has been shown to stop projectiles more effectively, and when combined with Kevlar, the two materials could provide a number of benefits for wider application. What makes the technology so unique is that it features a liquid which actually hardens when struck.
Speaking about liquid armour, Anne Healey, BAE Systems’ General Manager – Canada said: «Liquid armour could offer our troops increased protection but be lighter, allowing for greater manoeuvrability. I’m pleased we have been able to sign this MoU with Helios as their reputation in ballistic and blast protection means they’re well placed to help deliver this capability to Canada in the future».
About Helios Global Technologies
Helios Global Technologies is a safety and survivability technology company. They supply products for tracking and communications in remote and hazardous environments. They have development projects in the area of advanced materials for ballistic and blast protection and sensors for stand-off detection of threats. They work closely with the Surviving and Thriving Applied Research Facility of the University of British Columbia (Okanagan).
About Liquid Armour
Liquid armour is a material that offers increased protection with reduced mass, wider area coverage, greater manoeuvrability and easy integration with other systems. It can also be incorporated into standard Kevlar body armour. In studies when combined, the two materials offer superior freedom of motion and a reduction in overall thickness of up to 45 per cent.
When a projectile impacts the material at speed, it hardens very quickly and absorbs the impact energy. When combined with Kevlar, the reduced flow of the fluids in the liquid armour restricts the motion of the fabric yarns. This means an increase in area over which the impact energy is dispersed. The material is therefore far less likely to distort than standard body armour, which generally bends inwards when a bullet strikes, preventing death, but causing considerable pain.
HMS Audacious (S122), the fourth of seven Astute class attack submarines being built for the Royal Navy, was launched on April 28 by BAE Systems at its site in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, UK.
The 318-foot/97-metre long, 7,400 tonne highly-capable nuclear powered submarine which was officially named at a ceremony in December last year, emerged from the site’s giant Devonshire Dock Hall yesterday. On April 28, it was lowered into the dock water for the first time to begin the next phase of its test and commissioning programme ahead of leaving Barrow for sea trials next year.
Will Blamey, BAE Systems Submarines Managing Director, said: «Today’s launch marks an important milestone in the Astute programme and demonstrates our pride in building submarines for the Royal Navy. Audacious enters the water in a more advanced state of build than any previous Astute class submarine, which puts us in a good position for the next phase of work – the testing and commissioning of her complex systems. Designing and building a nuclear-powered submarine is extremely challenging and today’s launch is yet another reminder of the unique skills required to deliver such complex programmes. We now look forward to working alongside Audacious’ crew to prepare her for sea trials, before she joins her sister submarines in service with the Royal Navy».
Assistant Chief of Naval Staff Submarines Rear Admiral John Weale said: «It’s an exciting moment to see Audacious enter the water for the first time ahead of trials. Such a feat of engineering is testament to the skills of the BAE Systems workforce in Barrow. As part of an increasingly capable Royal Navy, Audacious will go on to serve on operations right around the world, helping keep Britain safe».
Armed with Spearfish torpedoes and Tomahawk land attack missiles, the Astute class submarines are the most highly-capable submarines ever built for the Royal Navy. They can strike at targets up to 540 NM/621 miles/1,000 km from the coast with pin-point accuracy, are equipped with a world-leading sonar capability and powered by a nuclear reactor. The first three submarines in the class, HMS Astute (S119), HMS Ambush (S120) and HMS Artful (S121), are now in service with the final three Astute class submarines are at various stages of construction at the Barrow site.
BAE Systems is the prime contractor in the Astute programme and the UK’s only designer and builder of nuclear powered submarines – one of the world’s most complex engineering challenges. The Company is also the industrial lead for the Dreadnought programme, the Royal Navy’s next generation of nuclear deterrent submarines. Construction of the first of four submarines, named Dreadnought, began last year.
The Company’s Submarines business employs approximately 8,500 people and spends more than £300M per year with over 1,000 direct suppliers – 85 per cent of whom are based in the UK.
BAE Systems welcomed Mr. Tony Douglas, Chief Executive Officer of Defence Equipment and Support, to its Govan shipyard in Glasgow on 21 April 2017 to cut the first metal and begin construction of HMS Spey, the fifth and final River Class Batch 2 Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) for the Royal Navy.
To mark the occasion, employees were joined at a ceremony by representatives of the Royal Navy and the local community as Mr. Douglas operated the plasma cutting machine to cut the first steel plates for HMS Spey.
BAE Systems has recently invested over £2 million in new technology for its Fabrication Facility, including the introduction of two robotic welding machines and a new laser cutting machine, which will be used on HMS Spey and the Type 26 Global Combat Ship later this year.
DE&S CEO Tony Douglas, said; «The team at Defence Equipment and Support has driven the successful delivery of the OPV programme; today’s steel cut is a proud moment not only for us, but for the Royal Navy and our industry partners too. I am looking forward to continuing this long-standing and close relationship when we begin manufacturing for the Type 26 fleet later in the summer».
Iain Stevenson, Managing Director of BAE Systems Naval Ships, said: «It is special occasions such as the steel cut of HMS Spey today that help us reflect on the importance of what we do, delivering the ships that will protect our nation’s interests at home and abroad. We are investing in the latest digital design technologies and new processes which enable us to deliver the quality ships and help to secure the long-term future of our highly skilled industry in the UK. We now have five OPVs in various stages of construction at our shipyards in Glasgow and I look forward to seeing the first of class Type 26 Global Combat Ship start to take shape in the summer of this year».
This OPV design differs from the Royal Navy’s existing River Class ships but there are variants already in service in Brazil and Thailand which puts capability at the forefront of their navies.
The first vessel, HMS Forth (P222), entered the water in August 2016, less than two years after construction started, and is now preparing for sea trials before being delivered to the Royal Navy by the end of 2017.
Work on the River Class OPVs continues to sustain skills in Glasgow and the wider supply chain, with more than 100 companies in the programme across the UK.
BAE Systems has been awarded a £1.4 billion contract by the UK’s Ministry of Defence to deliver the next Astute class submarine to the Royal Navy.
HMS Agamemnon (S124) will be the sixth of seven nuclear-powered attack submarines designed and manufactured at the Company’s site at Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.
Will Blamey, Managing Director of BAE Systems Submarines, said: «Securing the contract for the sixth Astute class submarine is a significant milestone for BAE Systems and the result of many years of hard work by our highly skilled workforce. The Astute class submarines are amongst the most highly capable and technologically advanced in the world and we’re immensely proud to build them for the Royal Navy».
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: «This latest investment means we are well on our way to completing our fleet of Astute submarines. These are the most advanced submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy and are already providing unprecedented levels of stealth and attack capability across the world. Backed by a rising defence budget and a £178 billion equipment plan, Barrow will remain the hub of our submarine build programmes providing high skilled jobs for years to come».
The first three Astute class submarines HMS Astute (S119), HMS Ambush (S120) and HMS Artful (S121) are currently in service with the Royal Navy with a further four in various stages of construction at the Barrow site.
BAE Systems is the prime contractor responsible for the design, build, test and commissioning of the seven Astute class nuclear-powered attack submarines. It is also the industrial lead for the Dreadnought programme, the Royal Navy’s next generation of submarines that will carry the continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent.
The Company’s submarine operation employs approximately 8,400 people and spends more than £300M per year with over 1,000 direct suppliers – 85 per cent of whom are based in the UK.
A world-leading flight engineering simulator created by BAE Systems is ready to be «flown» by F-35 Lightning II pilots for the first time as they prepare for flight trials on the UK’s new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier next year.
The refurbished simulator will test pilots’ skills to the limits as they practice landing on the deck of the new aircraft carrier in a range of difficult sea and weather conditions provided by the simulator.
The bespoke £2M simulator facility offers a 360-degree immersive experience for pilots to fly the jet to and from the UK carrier. It comprises a cockpit moved by an electronic motion platform and a full representation of the ship’s Flying Control Tower (FLYCO), where a Landing Signal Officer on board the carrier will control aviation operations.
The 360-degree view for pilots is vital as potential obstacles on an aircraft carrier are often behind the pilots as they land. Over the coming months, the simulator will be used by UK and U.S. military test pilots who have experience of flying F-35s on U.S. carriers.
The pilots will practice thousands of ski jump short take-offs and vertical landings that use both the vertical thrust from the jet engine and aerodynamic lift from the wings, allowing the aircraft to take-off and land on the carrier with increased weapon and fuel loads compared to predecessor aircraft.
Peter ‘Wizzer’ Wilson, BAE Systems’ test pilot for the short take-off and vertical landing variant on the F-35 Lightning II programme, said the simulator trials will provide engineers with the data to begin flight trials on HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08), the First of Class aircraft carrier in 2018.
He said: «The immersive experience is as near to the real thing as possible. The data will show us exactly what will happen when F-35 Lightning II pilots fly to and from the Queen Elizabeth carriers. The trials we can run through the simulator are far more extensive than what we will do in the actual flight trials because we can run and re-run each trial until we have all the data we need. The simulator provides greater cost efficiency for the overall programme and is extremely important to the success of the first flight trials».
Over the last 15 years, BAE Systems’ flight simulation has been used to support the design and development of the interface between the F-35 Lightning II and the UK’s next generation of aircraft carriers.
The new simulator replaces a previous version which was first built in the 1980s to develop technology for the Harrier jump-jet and the Hawk advanced jet trainer before being converted for F-35 Lightning II.
HMS FORTH (P222), the first of the five new River Class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV), was officially named on March 9, 2017, during a ceremony at BAE Systems’ site at Scotstoun in Glasgow in this important year for the Royal Navy.
Guests watched as Mrs. Johnstone-Burt, HMS FORTH’s sponsor and wife of Vice Admiral Tony Johnstone-Burt, the Master of the Household to the Sovereign and former Chief of Staff to NATO’s Supreme Allied Command Transformation, named the 1,800 tonne, 295-foot/90-metre-long vessel. In keeping with tradition, Mrs. Johnstone-Burt smashed a bottle of locally-distilled whisky from the Deanston Distillery near Stirling, the city affiliated with HMS FORTH (P222), against the ship’s hull.
Minister for Defence Procurement, Harriett Baldwin, said: «As part of a sustained programme delivering world-class ships and submarines, HMS Forth’s naming is a vitally important part of the Government’s ten-year £178 billion plan to provide our Armed Forces with the equipment they need. From counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean, to securing the UK’s borders on patrols closer to home, the Royal Navy’s new Offshore Patrol Vessels will help protect our interests around the world».
Iain Stevenson, Managing Director of BAE Systems Naval Ships, added: «Today’s naming ceremony is an immensely proud occasion for each and every person involved in the design and manufacture of HMS FORTH (P222) for the Royal Navy. It’s easy to forget that the she started life as a flat plate of steel in the winter of 2014, yet just over two years later she is afloat at Scotstoun, with the latest technologies and combat management systems, ready to depart for sea trials later this year».
HMS FORTH (P222) will embark shortly for sea trials where she will be put through her paces in the open waters off the coasts of Scotland. With a crew of 58 HMS FORTH (P222) is expected to enter service with the Royal Navy in 2018.
The bottle of whisky was provided by Deanston Distillery near Doune, selected due to its close proximity to Stirling – the city that HMS FORTH (P222) is affiliated with. A bottle of its award-winning 12-Year-Old fine single was smashed off the ship’s hull by HMS FORTH’s Lady Sponsor, Mrs. Rachel Johnstone-Burt.
The 90 meter OPV is based on a proven BAE Systems design, which is already in service with the Brazilian Navy and Royal Thai Navy. Engineers at BAE Systems have modified the design to meet the requirements of the Royal Navy in support of UK interests both at home and abroad. The OPVs will be globally deployable and capable of ocean patrol with a range of in excess of 5,000 nautical miles/5,754 miles/9,260 km and a maximum speed of 24 knots/27.6 mph/44.4 km/h. The vessels will include a modified flight deck capable of operating the latest Merlin helicopters, larger stores and more accommodation for embarked troops. They will also be the first ships to be built with a BAE Systems’ designed operating system called ‘Shared Infrastructure’. The Shared Infrastructure hardware solution provides a smart, easily-updatable warship operating system loaded onto a single console.
The production timescales for the OPVs are as follows:
August 2014 – manufacturing contract for the first three ships announced
October 2014 – construction commenced on the first of class, HMS FORTH (P222)
June 2015 – construction commenced on the second of class, HMS MEDWAY (P223)
October 2015 – construction commenced on the third of class, HMS TRENT (P224)
November 2015 – UK Government announced its intention to buy a further two OPVs to be built in Glasgow
December 2016 – construction commenced on the fourth of class, HMS TAMAR (P225)
HMS FORTH (P222) scheduled to enter service with the Royal Navy in 2018
Within the next fifty years, scientists at BAE Systems believe that battlefield commanders could deploy a new type of directed energy laser and lens system, called a Laser Developed Atmospheric Lens which is capable of enhancing commanders’ ability to observe adversaries’ activities over much greater distances than existing sensors.
At the same time, the lens could be used as a form of «deflector shield» to protect friendly aircraft, ships, land vehicles and troops from incoming attacks by high power laser weapons that could also become a reality in the same time period.
The Laser Developed Atmospheric Lens (LDAL) concept, developed by technologists at the Company’s military aircraft facility in Warton, Lancashire, has been evaluated by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and specialist optical sensors company LumOptica and is based on known science. It works by simulating naturally occurring phenomena and temporarily – and reversibly – changes the Earth’s atmosphere into lens-like structures to magnify or change the path of electromagnetic waves such as light and radio signals.
LDAL is a complex and innovative concept that copies two existing effects in nature; the reflective properties of the ionosphere and desert mirages. The ionosphere occurs at a very high altitude and is a naturally occurring layer of the Earth’s atmosphere which can be reflective to radio waves – for example it results in listeners being able to tune in to radio stations that are many thousands of miles away. The radio signals bounce off the ionosphere allowing them to travel very long distances through the air and over the Earth’s surface. The desert mirage provides the illusion of a distant lake in the hot desert. This is because the light from the blue sky is ‘bent’ or refracted by the hot air near the surface and into the vision of the person looking into the distance.
LDAL simulates both of these effects by using a high pulsed power laser system and exploiting a physics phenomena called the «Kerr Effect» to temporarily ionise or heat a small region of atmosphere in a structured way. Mirrors, glass lenses, and structures like Fresnel zone plates could all be replicated using the atmosphere, allowing the physics of refraction, reflection, and diffraction to be exploited.
«Working with some of the best scientific minds in the UK, we’re able to incorporate emerging and disruptive technologies and evolve the landscape of potential military technologies in ways that, five or ten years ago, many would never have dreamed possible», said Professor Nick Colosimo, BAE Systems’ Futurist and Technologist.
Professor Bryan Edwards, Leader of STFC’s Defence, Security and Resilience Futures Programme said of the work: «For this evaluation project, STFC’s Central Laser Facility team worked closely with colleagues at BAE Systems and by harnessing our collective expertise and capabilities we have been able to identify new ways in which cutting edge technology, and our understanding of fundamental physical processes and phenomena, has the potential to contribute to enhancing the safety and security of the UK».
Craig Stacey, CEO at LumOptica added: «This is a tremendously exciting time in laser physics. Emerging technologies will allow us to enter new scientific territories and explore ever new applications. We are delighted to be working with BAE Systems on the application of such game-changing technologies, evaluating concepts which are approaching the limits of what is physically possible and what might be achieved in the future».
BAE Systems has developed some of the world’s most innovative technologies and invests in research and development to generate future products and capabilities. The Company has a portfolio of patents and patent applications covering approximately 2000 inventions internationally. Earlier this year, the Company unveiled two other futuristic technology concepts, including envisaging that small Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) bespoke to specific military operations, could be ‘grown’ in large-scale labs through chemistry and that armed forces of the future could be using rapid response aircraft equipped with engines capable of propelling those aircraft to hypersonic speeds to meet rapidly emerging threats.
Atmospheric lens could revolutionize the future of battlefield observation
BAE Systems’ Artisan 3D radar system has successfully completed three years of sea-based trials on the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates. Artisan 3D has also been fitted on the new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth which is due into Portsmouth later this year.
The radar, which can monitor more than 900 objects simultaneously from 656 feet/200 meters to 108 NM/124 miles/200 kilometers away – and cut through radio interference equal to 10,000 mobile phone signals – has undertaken sea trials across multiple Royal Navy frigates since 2013 and proved its capabilities in an operational environment.
Under a £105 million contact BAE Systems will develop, manufacture and provide support for 19 of the radars for the Royal Navy until 2022. The nineteenth Artisan 3D radar has now successfully completed factory acceptance testing and all 19 radars will be delivered to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) by mid-2017.
In addition to the 11 frigates fitted to date, Artisan 3D has also been fitted on the new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, a landing platform dock assault ship, a landing platform helicopter assault ship and installed at MOD’s land-based test site at Portsdown Technology Park, Portsmouth.
Artisan will also be installed on the second of the new aircraft carriers HMS Prince of Wales, a further two frigates and a landing platform dock assault ship. Further trials will take place prior to each of the radars going into service.
Les Gregory, Director for Products and Training Services at BAE Systems said: «Artisan 3D is a ground-breaking radar system that delivers real capability to the Royal Navy with its supreme accuracy and uncompromising tracking. Its world-leading electronic protection measure ensures that even complex jammers will not reduce its effectiveness. Artisan 3D has now been extensively tested, demonstrating high performance with significant flexibility to meet current and future threats. It provides air and surface surveillance and target tracking to support platform and weapon system requirements on a wide range of platforms. BAE Systems is proud to continue its record of providing the most advanced radar capabilities to the Royal Navy».
Jonathan Barratt, Head of the Complex Weapons Team at the MOD’s Defence Equipment & Support said: «Artisan is a highly capable radar, providing record breaking track detection ranges against complex and demanding threats. This contract demonstrates how DE&S, industry and the Royal Navy are working collaboratively to deliver cutting-edge equipment, vital in supporting and protecting our Armed Forces».
Artisan is the most sophisticated radar in the Royal Navy’s fleet. Approximately five times more efficient than any previously in service on the Type 23 fleet.
Artisan’s range is between 656 feet/200 meters – 108 NM/124 miles/200 kilometers. It can identify birds as well as larger potential dangers such as destroyers and aircraft carriers.
Artisan can operate in densely signal-populated environments and cut through interference equivalent to 10,000 mobile signals directed its way.
The radar can identify a target the size of a tennis ball travelling at a speed of Mach 3 (over 2,000 mph/3,219 km/h), greater than 13.5 NM/15.5 miles/25 km away.
Artisan can track more than 900 targets at any one time.
Artisan is made of the same carbon glass fibre materials as a Formula 1 racing car.
BAE Systems has received a contract from the Netherlands for the testing and verification of Active Protection Systems (APS) on its CV90 Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs).
Active Protection is an advanced solution consisting of countermeasures that can intercept incoming rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles, and other threats to increase crew and vehicle survivability.
BAE Systems, the manufacturer of the Dutch CV9035 variant vehicles, will lead the APS integration. BAE Systems will also carry out the future installation of the system, called Iron Fist, developed by Israeli supplier IMI Systems. Iron Fist is an automated system that uses a radar to detect and track threats and then takes action to eliminate the threat.
«Iron Fist will give the Dutch Army a highly sophisticated defensive tool on its CV90s to counter threats and improve the safety of the vehicle and its crew», said Tommy Gustafsson-Rask, managing director of Sweden-based BAE Systems Hägglunds. «Iron Fist is yet another example of the advanced technology BAE Systems and its partners can deliver to our customers».
The integration of this advanced APS solution onto the Dutch CV90s demonstrates the vehicle’s adaptability to new and evolving technologies to meet customer-specific requirements.
«During this test phase, we will pre-qualify the active system against our threat specification, and together with our partners analyze system safety and prepare for its integration onto our CV9035NL vehicles», said Hans de Goeij, project manager at the Netherlands Defence Materiel Organisation, Ministry of Defence. «We expect to make a decision on the next phase by early 2018. With Iron Fist, the Netherlands is expected to become the first NATO country with an Active Protection System of its kind on combat vehicles».
BAE Systems is a leader in the development of survivability technologies for combat vehicles. The company has, for example, developed a system called ADAPTIV, which uses cloaking technology to alter the appearance of a vehicle, making it harder to identify. BAE Systems has also developed a situational awareness tool called BattleView 360. BattleView 360 employs sensors outside the vehicle that feed a 360-degree image to a helmet-mounted monocle, allowing soldiers inside the vehicle to essentially «see through» armor and better detect threats.