The Royal Navy has granted QinetiQ a 1.5-million-pound ($1.8 million) contract to test the “military effect” of its Banshee Jet80+ drone off the HMS Prince of Wales. The trials will commence later this year as part of the aircraft carrier’s first deployment off the east coast of the United States.
The experiment is an opportunity to evaluate the Banshee’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities and accuracy in identifying friend or foe.
Several simulated cruise missiles and enemy jets will be deployed during the trials to assist experts in rehearsing the in-field operability of the drone. The vehicle will also act as a decoy in other test phases.
The functions of the drones are expected to enhance the stimulation of radar mediums in aircraft, ships, and threat warning systems.
“The continued partnership with QinetiQ on Project Vampire is invaluable to support the evidence gathering as to how such capabilities can grow the lethality of our aircraft carriers,” said Royal Navy Carrier Strike & Maritime Aviation Head Colonel Phil Kelly.
Banshee Drone in Asia
Before the Royal Navy, Japan contracted QinetiQ to provide units of the Banshee Jet 80+ last March. The package included setting up a program for aerial target anti-aircraft fire training.
The deal with Japan was the company’s first sale of drones to the Asian country. The delivery date was undisclosed, but the firing training is scheduled for summer 2023.