QinetiQ conducts first flight with fast jet radome on flying testbed


QinetiQ’s Airborne Technology Demonstrator aircraft has trialed future radar and sense integration capabilities with BAE Systems for the first time.

QinetiQ’s Airborne Technology Demonstrator (ATD) RJ100 has conducted a flight test with the combat aircraft nose system installed, setting up to test future radar and sensor integration capability.

The installation of the fast jet radome in the nose enables the ATD flying testbed to support future programs and variety of technology developments in the sector.

The flight also represents the first major Ministry of Defence (MOD) trial conducted under Category 1 Flight Test and is the first trial of its kind in the UK for 30 years.

The addition of the radome is the latest in a series of modifications to the RJ100’s airframe, which serves as a flying laboratory and classroom. The ATD features power and data backbones and multiple flexible workstations to enable R&D projects to be quickly and easily integrated.

A bespoke, modular multi-role capability that meets the requirements of both military and civil customers, the ATD supports cost-effective specialist training, experimentation, air carriage, and test and evaluation (T&E) activities. The aircraft has been modified to simplify the route of getting technology under development into airborne environment.

Nic Anderson, chief executive of UK Defence, QinetiQ said, “Building on QinetiQ’s Aviation Engineering Centre’s exceptional track record in aircraft design and modification, the ATD represents an exciting development in UK flight test capability.

“Working with BAE Systems in collaboration to support the development of future sensors and technology is a great demonstration of our expertise in aviation engineering, airworthiness and test and evaluation.”

Steve Wynd, engineering director – air sector, BAE Systems said, “Using a flying testbed in this way allows us to much more rapidly test, develop and prove new digital technologies, with particular focus on Model Based Systems Engineering. We’re really excited in the potential this provides and look forward to our continued collaboration with QinetiQ.”

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