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QinetiQ to provide Banshee Jet 80+ target UAVs to Japan

Japan has procured Banshee Jet 80+ target UAVs as part of a wider unmanned aerial target services contract announced by QinetiQ on 10 March. (QinetiQ)

QinetiQ will provide unmanned aerial target services to the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) for anti-aircraft firing training.

The deal, announced by QinetiQ on 10 March, includes the delivery of an unspecified number of fixed-wing Banshee Jet 80+ target unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), logistics support, spare parts, and other consumables for the Banshee UAV.

The value and timeframe of the deal was not disclosed. However, QinetiQ said that the JGSDF will start operating the aerial targets from the northern summer of 2023 for anti-aircraft training.

The deal is the first time the company has sold target UAVs to Japan, although it has been providing unmanned target services to the country's armed forces for more than 20 years, including the Barracuda unmanned surface vehicle – missile target for the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force, QinetiQ said.

The twin-engine Banshee Jet 80+ is a development of the Banshee Jet 80, which was introduced in 2014. According to the manufacturer, the Banshee Jet 80+ is powered by twin 45 kg-thrust gas-turbine engines yielding a total of 90 kg static thrust, and is 2.85–2.95 m long, 0.78 m high with a 2.49 m wingspan. The UAV can reach a maximum speed of 200 m/s and has an endurance of more than 40 minutes, an operational range of around 100 km, and can reach the maximum altitude of more than 9,100 m.

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