UK-based start-up military jet developer, AERALIS, announced on April 11 that it has received “significant further investment” from the Royal Air Force (RAF) Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) under the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MOD’s) wider PYRAMID open mission system architecture programme.
This additional investment and support comes after AERALIS – which plans to develop a new class of transformative, modular ‘plug-and-play’ training and operational fast-jets – agreed a three-year contract with the RAF RCO in February 2021. This initial deal covered the research and development (R&D) of a new modular approach to the design and development of future military aircraft.
Having announced the successful completion of the programme’s first phase, AERALIS revealed that it has now entered the second phase of the project, which “will provide a route to exploit the potential of PYRAMID,” according to the UK-based start-up. Additionally, AERALIS will work with the UK MOD and its procurement arm, Defence, Equipment and Support (DE&S) to explore other potential avenues for continued collaboration within the framework of the UK’s Combat Air Strategy.
“The areas under consideration are over and above avionics system development and aim to realise broader technology and enterprise benefits such as digitisation that will support the MOD’s Technology Initiative for Combat Air Systems of the future,” the company states.
Tristan Crawford, AERALIS CEO, said: “We are delighted to be able to announce the next phase of our contract with the RCO. Over the last year, we have delivered some exciting insights into the digital backbone required for the development of new military aircraft, and we look forward to continuing this important work in partnership with the RAF.”
AERALIS is actively developing a family of three modular, next-generation jet trainers that can be rapidly reconfigurable and share a common architecture, allowing the aircraft to be optimised to support various mission sets through the use of a common core fuselage concept. While the firm initially set its sights on the military jet trainer market, it now aims to provide a low-cost multi-mission platform as a solution for the future combat and non-combat requirements of global air forces.
At present, this family of modular aircraft comprises three different variants: the AERALIS A (an advanced jet trainer); the AERALIS B (a basic trainer); and the AERALIS X (designed for bespoke aerobatic teams). The AERALIS A will be the first variant to fly, with an initial prototype scheduled to complete its maiden flight in 2024.