QinetiQ reveals air-launched UAV supersonic target


QinetiQ has released the world’s first unmanned air vehicle supersonic target, called the Rattler, which can be attached to its jet Banshee aerial target and can be launched during flight.

The target, which enables ships and aircraft to practice tracking missiles was initially launched last year with a ground-launched capability and has now been updated with the air-launch capability.

The air-launch feature has been trialled in Canada over the past year. Peter Longstaff, managing director of QinetiQ Target Systems said, “Rattler is a low-cost, manoeuvrable supersonic target  for the live fire, test and evaluation community.

“It costs substantially less than any high-speed threat representative target currently on the market and being air-launched means that we can now conduct a full end-to-end threat representation profile. We are delighted to add the air-launched Rattler to our portfolio which we can either provide as a product sale or deploy to a customer’s site as part of a managed service for test or training purposes.”

When being air-launched, the jet Banshee aerial target with Rattler attached is set off from a ground launcher, directed into the operational area and can be recovered using a parachute. The Banshee and Rattler combination can be launched in three different modes to replicate various threat profiles.

Once launched, Rattler is operated with a proprietary QinetiQ guidance system and flight termination system (FTS) that enables full control at all times. Rattler can be equipped with payloads such as radar augmentation and miss distance indication.

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering 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 becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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