The UK’s BAE Systems has said it is looking to develop a heavy-lift electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) quadcopter capable of carrying payloads of up to 300 kilograms in partnership with drone manufacturer Malloy Aeronautics.
BAE Systems made its announcement coinciding with the UK’s biannual Defense and Security Equipment International trade show, where it displayed a concept model of the craft.
Development of the heavy-lift eVTOL quadcopter would mark a significant step in BAE’s uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) activity, which is primarily rooted in larger, military-grade, and tactical nano-drones. Dubbed T-650, the copter is expected to have a maximum range of 30 km and top speed of 140 km/m when carrying its full 300 kg payload.
The planned UAV is being angled as particularly useful to defense customers. Potential applications include automated ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore logistics support; evacuation of soldiers and casualties from combat situations; anti-submarine warfare; maritime search and rescue; surveillance and monitoring; maritime counter-measures; and close air support.
“Bringing together Malloy’s proven track record of innovative technology in this field, with our understanding of the military operating environment and extensive engineering and systems integration experience, will enable us to develop a sustainable and cost-effective solution for both military and commercial customers,” says Dave Holmes advanced projects, technology and manufacturing director for BAE Systems’ Air Sector.
Indeed, the partners stress the future craft will also fulfill needs for civilian business customers notably those in mining, construction, manufacturing, and energy activities. The heavy-lift eVTOL quadcopter is also being designed to assist in the transport of material and humans during management of disaster situations.
“Beyond the military capabilities, there is also clear potential in the commercial, security, and humanitarian arenas, says Mallory Aeronautics CEO Oriol Badia. “Our goal is to work together with BAE Systems to ensure that our capabilities are not just the first and best for defense, but that they become the future workhorse to keep all our personnel safe.
The companies are expected to conduct the first test flights of the T-650 in the second half of 2022, with the first drones in the project delivered to clients by the following year.
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