Qinetiq to build drone test range in Australia

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QinetiQ Australia is to design and construct an unmanned drone flight test range in Queensland which is expected to be finished later this year.

The unmanned aerial systems (UAS) flight test range (FTR) will be located at Cloncurry Aerodrome in North West Queensland and will consist of access to a commercial quality runway, dedicated hangar and workshop, range control centre, range control system including a primary surveillance radar and other surveillance and tracking equipment, dedicated airspace and regulatory approvals for UAS FTR operations.

QinetiQ Australia’s managing director Greg Barsby said, “The Queensland Government has a vision to be a world leader in UAS technologies and we are proud to support this through the creation of the flight test range facility at Cloncurry.”

“Together with our partners, we manage some of the world’s most advanced range facilities across the land, maritime and aerospace domains. By drawing on our global experience, QinetiQ and our partners will deliver this facility, the largest of its kind in the region.

The facility will initially support all weight classes of UAS for routine flying operations, demonstration activities and test and evaluation trials of moderate complexity. Future phases of development will support the full range of ground and flight test activity, providing an Australian home for the conduct of highly complex developmental test programs.

Queensland’s minister for state development, tourism and innovation Kate Jones said the project will provide a key missing element for UAS research and development. “The Queensland Government was the first in Australia to launch a drone strategy, and now we’re well on the way to becoming the nation’s drone technology capital.”

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before eventually becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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