UK firm QinetiQ unveiled a new variant of its Banshee family of target drones at the DSEI 2019 trade show in London.
Known as the Banshee Next Generation (NG), the twin gas-turbine engine target drone can reach speeds over 900 km/h in a "clean" configuration with half fuel, and has a range of more than 100 km. The Banshee NG features increased manoeuvrability capabilities of up to 9G due to improvements to the airframe and a lower radar cross-section.
The Banshee NG can fly as low as 3 m when fitted with a radar altimeter payload to emulate sea-skimming threats, and can soar to up to 12,000 m.
Featuring a larger airframe and greater power outputs and onboard processing capabilities, a greater number of payloads of increasing sophistication can be integrated onto the Banshee NG. Typical payloads can include IFF transponders, radar homing emulators and radar jammers, tracking flares, and decoy dispensing pods. Multiple payloads can be incorporated, with a maximum payload weight of 25 kg.
The system can be launched from land or sea with recovery by parachute.
The Banshee NG comes as an evolution of the company's previous Banshee Whirlwind, Jet 40, Jet 80, and Jet 80+ target drones, QinetiQ director of business development Vincent Malley told Jane's , but came through as a clean-sheet and build-to-cost design. The system takes advantage of commonality with existing Banshee system infrastructure, such as pneumatic air launchers, ground control stations, and payloads, Malley said.
"As the threat evolves, there's a higher demand for a higher performing target to replicate the threat," he added.
Iain Farley, QinetiQ's Managing Director - International, said that this approach would "make it extremely easy for the 42 operators of the Banshee family of products to upgrade to the Banshee NG. The investment required is quite limited, aside from the product itself."
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