"Fresh from an RAF -- Royal Air Force -- deployment to Afghanistan, one of the world's first fully autonomous unmanned air vehicles -- UAV -- will make its Middle East debut at Dubai 2007. Developed by BAE Systems, the unmanned air system, known as HERTI, is one of a new generation of UAVs suitable for both military and civil operations," the company said in a statement Monday.
"The RAF deployed a HERTI system in Afghanistan this summer as part of the unique Project Morrigan collaboration between the Royal Air Force and BAE Systems. Project Morrigan is a joint initiative between the RAF Air Warfare Center and BAE Systems. Launched in September 2006, it aims to integrate HERTI UAV systems into (British) 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," BAE Systems said.
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," BAE Systems said.
"The HERTI UAV is one of a family of unmanned air vehicles 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," the company said.