QinetiQ prepares Airborne Technology Demonstrator (ATD) for next-generation systems and sensor capability

15/07/2022 – QinetiQ and BAE Systems have collaborated to develop an Airborne Technology Demonstrator (ATD) to enable and de-risk the development of future sensors and technologies in the Air sector. To illustrate the potential utility, QinetiQ and BAE Systems have worked closely to create an engineering mock-up of a fast jet radome fitted to the ATD.

On public display for the first time at the Royal International Air Tattoo show 2022 (RIAT), the nose modification is the latest innovative, cutting-edge capability delivered by QinetiQ’s Aviation Engineering Centre (AEC) in conjunction with BAE Systems Air business. The ATD – fitted with the new nose – is expected to take to the skies with this new configuration later this year and will enable the aircraft to accommodate next generation Radar and Sensor systems to support future development programmes.
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. 
Nic Anderson, Chief Executive UK Defence, remarked, “Building on QinetiQ’s Aviation Engineering Centre’s exceptional track record in aircraft design and modification, this latest variation represents an exciting development in UK flight test capability. Working with BAE Systems in collaboration to support the development of future sensor capability is very exciting.”
Ian Muldowney, BAE Systems Chief Operating Officer (Air), added, “The ability to utilise the asset in conjunction with our MBSE approach and Systems Integration approach will undoubtedly reduce schedule and technical risk on many of our programmes internal and external – current and future, and with the right approach will help validate our model-based efforts in a low cost agile way.”

Using an RJ100 airframe, the addition of fast jet nose cone is just the latest in a series of modifications to this platform. Transformed into a flying laboratory and classroom, the ATD provides power and data backbones and flexible workstations to enable research and development projects to be quickly and easily integrated. Including a number of other innovations, this systems-rich resource enables quick role change and ultimately, the successful delivery of critical customer mission activity.

Photo courtesy QinetiQ