QinetiQ has won a four-year, Vampire Phase 1 contract to support the Royal Navy’s future high-performance unmanned aerial system (UAS) operations.
Following the successful demonstration of QinetiQ Target Systems’ Banshee Jet80+ from the deck of the Royal Navy’s HMS Prince of Wales aircraft carrier late last year, the Vampire Phase 1 contract will enable the Royal Navy to test and evaluate the capability of small fixed-wing, jet-powered uncrewed systems to support carrier aviation.
As informed, the company will provide its experimentation knowledge and its Banshee Jet80+ targets to help Royal Navy aircraft carriers train for real-world scenarios.
The Banshees provide the opportunity to run drills by emulating cruise missiles and enemy fast jets which may be faced on a mission. The drone can operate at 25,000 feet, or just above the sea surface, and fly at high speeds of up to 400 knots, delivering a realistic adversary to train against, according to the company.
The Royal Navy will also use this contract to understand and demonstrate the wider concepts of operations of small UAS to deliver capabilities in areas such as intelligence gathering, surveillance, Stand in Jamming and working as decoys, whether as a standalone capability or delivered through human-machine teaming.
“The use of drones as enemy aircraft is essential in helping the carriers improve their defence capabilities as the size of the Banshee is representative of an incoming missile on radar systems,” the firm noted.
“The partnership with QinetiQ will be invaluable in our ability to support our training needs to better prepare for realistic threats,” said Colonel Phil Kelly, Head Carrier Strike & Maritime Aviation, Royal Navy.
“As we see these threats and the technology supporting them evolve globally, we must ensure our training is as close to the real-life situation as possible and we’re grateful that QinetiQ can support us in achieving this.”