Aircraft makers on the Fylde will have a new partner when it comes to making the next generation of pilotless warplanes.
They will be teaming up with the french after a £120m deal was signed by Prime Minister David Cameron and French President, Francois Hollande for a two year unmanned systems feasibility study.
France has been researching its own drone-style aircraft and BAE has already produced its Taranis unmanned air vehicle at Warton. It has also been conducting test flights of a Jetstream aircraftwhich can operate without a pilot. Warton is expected to be the centre of the new collaboration.
Ian King, CEO of BAE Systems said: “Together with Dassault we welcome the further support from our Governments for our joint work in developing this important defence capability for the United Kingdom and France.
“Given the strong research and development investment and progress in technology that has already been made, continuing work in unmanned air systems will also ensure we maintain the core knowledge and key skills necessary to make a make a long term contribution to both our national economies.”
The Company has recently completed a joint study for the UK and French governments with Dassault Aviation, known as the Future Combat Air System Demonstration Programme Preparation Phase study.
BAE said today’s news builds further on the investment and technological capabilities BAE Systems has already developed in unmanned air systems (UAS) over the past decade through a number of prototypes and demonstrators. It added that technologies from Taranis will make an important contribution to this next UAS development programme.