On Target, and more [CANSEC17D2]

01 June 2017

QinetiQ Target Systems (Booth 414) – part of QinetiQ Canada, and a wholly owned subsidiary of QinetiQ – is showing new iterations of its air, land and sea threat applications for live fire training, and test and evaluation, at CANSEC 2017.

Newly integrated into the company’s target fleet, the Mosquito UHV-T (unmanned helicopter vehicle-target) is a multirole system designed to simulate helicopter threats, operate as a special mission platform for payload development, and deliver traditional unmanned air system roles such as surveillance. Capable of achieving speeds of up to 75 knots (139km/h), Mosquito is equipped with a completely indigenously produced autopilot, which is scalable to larger or smaller platforms.

Mosquito is currently in service with Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), and the US Army, while QinetiQ Target Systems has been selected as the helicopter target provider for the US Army Targets Management Office and is the only company qualified on the US Army Proprietary Ground Station. Vincent Malley, business development manager at QinetiQ Target Systems, said new opportunities currently being evaluated for Mosquito include integration on naval platforms for launch and recovery in both UHV-T and maritime unmanned air system (UAS) roles.

Also on display is the Hammerhead unmanned surface vehicle-target (USV-T) – a 5m advanced composite surface effect hull, powered by a 135hp 3.0-litre gasoline engine, designed to replicate swarming fast inshore attack craft (FIAC) and piracy threats. Malley said the company, which has demonstrated the ability to simultaneously swarm up to 16 Hammerhead USV-Ts, is seeing increasing interest in the platform, for a number of roles.

Accordingly, QinetiQ Target Systems has developed a new variant, designated Humpback, which, while identical in appearance to Hammerhead, is equipped with a diesel engine to enable use on board naval platforms. Equipped for an electronic warfare (EW) payload, Humpback is intended for use as a decoy to spoof or distract an attacking missile from the ship. In service with the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), Humpback is currently being supplied by the service as government-furnished equipment (GFE) to industry suppliers bidding in an open solicitation for an RCN-towed EW payload solution. A decision is expected in Q3 2017.

Pitched above the stand is a representation of the Banshee Twin Jet 110 – the latest evolution of the company’s Banshee family of unmanned aerial targets. Evolved from the Banshee single jet engine variant – which entered service in 2010 and continues as the global workhorse for air defence training requirements – and the later Banshee 80, the new twin jet engine version features modified aerodynamics, twin 55kg (120lb) thrust gas turbine engines, and an improved fuel capacity of 60 litres enabling speeds to 220m per second and a cruise endurance in excess of 45 minutes.

When fitted with the patented hot nose, the target provides a forward and side-looking infrared (IR) source with output in bands I, II and III, while the jet engines provide a realistic rearward-looking IR signature. All legacy augmentation devices traditionally available to Banshee can be fitted to the latest twin jet engine derivative. The new system is currently in service with the Indian Navy, and was recently flown for a kill mission with a Derby beyond visual range air-to-air missile.

Not shown is the company’s new Snyper Mk II (UHV-T) – a micro-UAS threat replication system. With a maximum take-off weight of 13.5kg (30lb) including a 4.5kg (10lb) payload, line-of-sight or beyond line-of-sight communications at ranges out to 8km and at altitudes up to 18,000ft, Snyper Mk II is specifically designed to emulate the emerging micro-UAV threat. Intended for training for military operations in urban terrain (MOUT) and force protection, the UHV-T can be operated in a variety of frequencies to test the electronic attack capability of modern warfare systems.

Malley noted that all its unmanned target/ISR systems can be operated by the QinetiQ Universal Target Control Station (UTCS), or flown with an existing customer control system (that is, successful interface with the US Army Ground and Aerial Target Control System (AGATCS)).

QinetiQ designs and develops threat-representative targets and special mission platforms at its manufacturing facilities in Alberta, Canada and Ashford, UK.

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