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UK testbed platform conducts inaugural flight with radome

QinetiQ's and BAE Systems' ATD fitted with a fast jet radome. (QinetiQ)

QinetiQ's and BAE Systems' airborne technology demonstrator (ATD) has successfully completed its inaugural test flight with a combat aircraft nose system, QinetiQ announced on 8 August.

The ATD is a new airborne test facility that uses a British Aerospace Avro RJ100 airframe to de-risk the development of future sensors and technologies.

To demonstrate its potential utility, the two companies equipped a fast jet radome on the platform to enable the aircraft to accommodate next-generation radar and sensor systems.

The flight paves the way for the ATD to become a core test, trials, training, and evaluation (T3E) capability under a Long Term Partnering Agreement (LTPA) with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD).

As part of the agreement, QinetiQ is responsible for the operation of 15 MoD land, sea, and air ranges and specialist test facilities as well as the provision of specialist technical expertise and support services.

The radome is the latest in a series of modifications to the RJ100 platform, which has been transformed into a flying laboratory and classroom. The aircraft integrates multiple flexible workstations that enable research and development projects to be quickly and easily integrated, QinetiQ said.

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