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QinetiQ contracted for RN's Project Vampire UAV programme

QinetiQ is to provide the UK Royal Navy (RN) with a low-cost fixed-wing unmanned air vehicle (UAV) under Project Vampire – an initial increment of the RN's Future Maritime Aviation Force (FMAF) vision.

The company was awarded a GBP6.7 million (USD8.8 million) contract on 1 March for a programme of delivery lasting up to four years. Although the air vehicle to be delivered under Phase 1 of Project Vampire has not been formally announced, Janes understands that QinetiQ will provide its Banshee Jet 80+ UAV.

Managed by the Develop Directorate within Navy Command, the FMAF programme is exploring the transition of a number of aviation roles – intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR); communications; lift; and strike – from manned to unmanned air platforms. As one strand of the FMAF, Project Vampire seeks to explore potential maritime airborne unmanned or autonomous systems for RN's use in the ISR, electromagnetic operations, and threat simulation roles.

A pilot activity under Project Vampire saw QinetiQ demonstrate its Banshee Jet 80+ fixed-wing target from the aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales in September 2021. The Banshee Jet 80+ is a small, high-speed target employed to emulate anti-ship missiles and fighter ground attack aircraft in order provide crews with a realistic adversary to train against.

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