Thales used the Special Operations Forces Innovation Network Seminal (SOFINS) at Camp de Souge on 2–4 April to unveil a modular autonomous vehicle that can be configured to support a variety of air, ground, and maritime mission sets conducted by special operations forces (SOF).
The company disclosed fresh details on its BRAIN development, which comprises a central connection component that can be reconfigured into an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), and unmanned surface vessel (USV).
Thales officials told Jane’s that the BRAIN concept had been developed in collaboration with French SOF as well as industry partners, including those in the robotics sector. An initial proof of concept was completed in May 2018, followed by the completion of an early release product in November.
Thales displayed BRAIN’s handheld ground control station as well as the central connection component with a series of modular kits that enables it to be configured as a quad-rotor UAV or 4×4 UGV.
Company officials also revealed to Jane’s that development work to reconfigure BRAIN into a USV, as well as ‘flying wings’ for a tilt-rotor UAV, is under way.
Thales used a video presentation to highlight how the man-packed BRAIN system could be deployed in a UAV configuration to conduct an initial reconnaissance mission over a target area, and then return to a small unit team to be quickly reconfigured into a UGV to conduct a close reconnaissance of a target building.
The company noted that BRAIN components can be manufactured using 3D printing, enabling users to produce replacement parts at forward operating and patrol bases. BRAIN has also been designed to carry a variety of sensor payloads to suit mission requirements.