BAE Systems has collaborated with the UK-based University of Manchester to complete the first phase of flight trials with the small-scale Magma unmanned aerial vehicle (UAS).

The flight trials form a part of the ongoing project between the two parties to explore and develop a new flight control technology.

BAE Systems engineering fellow Clyde Warsop said: “The technologies we are developing with the University of Manchester will make it possible to design cheaper, higher performance, next-generation aircraft.

“Our investment in research and development drives continued technological improvements in our advanced military aircraft.”

“Our investment in research and development drives continued technological improvements in our advanced military aircraft, helping to ensure UK aerospace remains at the forefront of the industry and that we retain the right skills to design and build the aircraft of the future.”

Magma will be manoeuvred using a ‘unique blown-air system’ that eliminates the need for complex, mechanical moving parts used to move flaps to control the aircraft during flight.

The new concept can reduce maintenance costs and offer greater aircraft control, enabling faster and effective military and civil aircraft service in the future.

The two parties intend to trial two technologies, namely Wing Circulation Control and Fluidic Thrust Vectoring using Magma.

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Wing Circulation Control procures air from the aircraft engine and blows it through the trailing edge of the wing to provide control for the aircraft, while Fluidic Thrust Vectoring changes the direction of the aircraft by blowing air to deflect the exhaust.

Additional flight trials are planned for the coming months to evaluate new flight control technologies.