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BAe Systems Mantis

United Kingdom (2009)
Picture of BAe Systems Mantis Unmanned Aircraft

The BAe Systems Mantis program will help evolve a future British-French UAV initiative.

Detailing the development and operational history of the BAe Systems Mantis Unmanned Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 3/20/2016. Authored by Dan Alex. Content ©

European reliance on UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) systems has grown considerably with each passing modern conflict and several concerns have thrown their hats into the ring to provide near-future solutions locally and with the lucrative prospect of export. BAe Systems unveiled their "Mantis" solely as a UAV technology demonstrator to evaluate a full-sized unmanned combat vehicle - known specifically under the categorization of "Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle" (UCAV). The UCAV class is similar to the basic UAV/drone in most respects through evolved to the extent that it supports the delivery of precision-guided munitions (as in the American MQ-9 "Reaper" family). These aircraft are generally of larger dimensions with more advanced in-flight systems and greater internal volume for fuel (extending operational ranges) and mission payloads. The Mantis currently serves as a developmental test platform, having recorded its first flight on October 21st,2009 at the Woomera Test Range in Australia. It joins BAe System's other high-profile UAV demonstrator - the "Taranis" - which saw work on a prototype begin in 2007. To date, the Mantis program has produced a single prototype following the mockup which debuted in 2008 at the Farnborough Air Show in Britain.

The Mantis program is British-led initiative and centered along the prospect of defining a reusable, long-range, deep-penetrating UAV combat-minded system. As such, the vehicle was specifically designed with high endurance and long range performance in mind along with a modular payload capability (including support for weapons delivery). As with other growing UAV programs, the Mantis intends to operate largely autonomously while relying on satellite communications for its self-positioning. user interaction will allow for overides but the Mantis will be independent in its navigation, landing and take-off procedures. While headed by BAe Systems, the program also includes major industry players such as GE Aviation, L3 Wescam and Rolls-Royce. Avionics includes the LS Wescam MX-20 series imaging system and the BAe Systems-supplied Imagery Collection and Exploitation (ICE) suite. Data collected during the Mantis program will assist in the future development of the joint British-French UAV initiative known as the "Telemos" (headlined by BAe Systems / Dassault).

The external profile of the Mantis is largely conventional and essentially mimics a manned aircraft though the domed front section houses operational systems instead of a cockpit. The fuselage is well-contoured for aerodynamic efficiency and includes low-set, straight wing appendages. The rear section of the fuselage is tapered and mounts a "T-style" tail unit. The Mantis is propelled by a pair of Rolls-Royce engines arranged in a "pusher" configuration and seated in individual nacelles along the fuselage spine just ahead of the tail unit. The undercarriage is wheeled in the traditional way and fully retractable. The wing assemblies are designed to support external munitions across six hardpoints.

Overall length of the Mantis prototype is 65 feet while the airframe sits empty at 2,200lbs with a listed maximum take-off weight of 19,800lbs. Power is served through 2 x Rolls-Royce M250B-17 series turboshaft engines developing 380 horsepower each. Currently, the Mantis showcases a top speed of 345 miles per hour with a cruise speed in the vicinity of 230 miles per hour and features a mission endurance time of up to 30 hours before requiring resupply.

Any available statistics for the BAe Systems Mantis Unmanned Aircraft are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).

Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (345mph).

    Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the BAe Systems Mantis's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
National Flag Graphic
Origin: United Kingdom
Year: 2009
Type: Unmanned Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): BAe Systems - UK
Production: 1
Global Operators:
United Kingdom
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the BAe Systems Mantis model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.




64.96 ft

19.8 m


2,205 lb

1,000 kg


19,842 lb

9,000 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
2 x Rolls-Royce M250B-17 turboshaft engines developing 380 horsepower each.


345 mph

556 kph

300 kts


9,942 mi

16,000 km

Nautical Miles
8,639 nm

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft guided bomb munition
Armament - Hardpoints (6):

Prototype will evaluate various precision-guided munitions.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Mantis - Project Designation