UK places order for up to 16 new ‘Vampire’ drones

The UK Ministry of Defence has awarded a contract to defence tech company QinetiQ to procure a low-cost fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as part of the Project Vampire.  

As disclosed, following a tender invitation in January this year, a £6.68 million contract has been awarded for Phase 1 of the Vampire project under the Future Maritime Aviation Force (FMAF) program.

Managed by the Develop Directorate within Navy Command, the program’s goal is to explore the transition of a number of aviation roles from manned to unmanned air platforms.

The agreement between the two parties encompasses the delivery of four UAVs with two more to follow between 2023 and 2024 and 2024 and 2025 respectively. 

Furthermore, the contract includes an option for additional ten units.

Under the agreement, QinetiQ will also provide:

  • One Launcher with options to purchase up to 2 more;
  • One ground control station and aerials, with options to purchase up to 2 more;
  • Training for operators in 2022-23, with a repeat in 2024-25.

The drones will perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), electromagnetic operations (EMO) and threat simulation.

The expiration date for the contract is March 2025, with an option for an extension to March 2026.

To remind, last year, the Royal Navy launched QinetiQ’s Banshee Jet 80+ from its aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales.

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Photo: Illustration; Photo by: Royal Navy