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The Challenge 2017

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The Royal Air Force (RAF) has around-the-clock operational commitments that need both manned and unmanned air vehicles to undertake flying operations worldwide. These operational deployments can be short- or long-term and manpower, ground support equipment and spare parts must be readily available to make sure operations are not interrupted. Currently, urgently-needed aircraft spare parts and specialist equipment are transported by the RAF’s own fleet of transport aircraft or by commercial airline cargo space or specialist freight carriers such as DHL, Fedex or UPS.


The RAF would like teams to explore the design options and commercial feasibility of a fleet of suitable Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) to satisfy this Global Delivery System. The solution must be able of transport a payload of up to 1,000kg from the UK to anywhere in the world within 24 hours of being notified of the requirement.

Design Scope

The proposed design submission should, as a minimum, consider the following:

  • Readiness considerations
  • Runway requirements
  • Integration to the existing air traffic structure
  • Economics
  • Flight planning
  • Fleet size
  • Potential use of UK, and other nation’s aircraft carriers, as staging posts

Design solutions are invited and must be submitted no later than 31 May 2017.

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