UK Royal Navy recruits Banshee UAS for Project Vampire
The UK MoD has awarded QinetiQ the Phase 1 contract of the Project Vampire programme, valued at £6.68 million ($8.04 million).
The core requirements stipulate four vehicles must be delivered by October 2023, with two more to follow between 2023 and 2024 and 2024 and 2025 respectively. The contract expires in March 2025, with an option for an extension to March 2026.
The contract also contains an option for up to ten vehicles, bringing the total to 16 potential UAS.
Accompanying launchers, ground control stations and training are also included under the core requirements.
QinetiQ will be providing its Banshee Jet 80+ UAS, following demonstrations last September of the system being launched from the HMS Prince of Wales aircraft carrier.
According to Shephard Defence Insight, the Banshee target can simulate an enemy aircraft, UAVs or cruise missiles. It is powered by a twin 45kg thrust gas turbine engine that provides 90kg of static thrust.
As part of the UK RN’s broader Future Maritime Aviation Force strategy, Project Vampire aims to procure a low-cost, fixed-wing UAS for ISR, electromagnetic and threat simulation tasks.
Moreover, a platform of this type would enable the UK RN to develop its operational concepts, payload types and associated communication and digital architecture.
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