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UK adopts agile procurement for delivering autonomous supplies

15th November 2021 - 14:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London

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Malloy Aeronautics' T400 RPAS. (Photo: MoD/ Crown Copyright)

Using RPAS for supply missions could lead to reduced costs and keep personnel out of harm's way.

The UK has adopted a 'ground-breaking' agile procurement approach to identify RPAS that can transport cargo and supplies between ships and personnel.

The 'Heavy Lift Challenge', a collaboration between DE&S Future Capability Group (FCG), the RN Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) and the RN's UAS Test & Evaluation (T&E) Centre of Expertise (700X Sqn), served as a pilot to test the efficacy of the Rapid Agile Prototyping, Scaled for Operations (RAPSO) commercial framework.

DE&S FCG Head James Gavin said: 'This project is about exploring emerging technology which could be of future use to the Royal Navy and other front-line commands and new acquisition approaches like RAPSO to ensure any operational advantage can be delivered to our UK Armed Forces at pace.'

In the initial stages, industry was invited to demonstrate RPAS with the ability to carry 100kg plus payloads and pass speed, endurance and accuracy of delivery tests.

As a result, Malloy Aeronautics and W Autonomous Systems were awarded £300,000 contracts to develop RPAS to lift capacity to beyond 200kg and potentially win further funding for the supply of systems.

When mature, RPAS could autonomously transport light cargo such as ammunition and food from ships at sea to front-line personnel. DE&S said the systems could also supplement and enhance existing capabilities.

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