QinetiQ’s Game-Changer: Meet Jackdaw, the Disposable UAS

By: | September 22nd, 2023

Image by QinetiQ

British technology company QinetiQ has recently unveiled a novel and cost-effective “disposable” uncrewed aerial system (UAS) known as Jackdaw.

It is designed for swarming and collaborative autonomous operations, including crewed-uncrewed teaming.

Jackdaw’s versatility in teaming up with both manned and unmanned systems enhances mission efficiency and minimizes direct risks to human lives. The disposable nature of the Jackdaw UAS means that commanders can use it to perform missions that would be too risky or expensive for traditional aircraft and even sacrifice it if required.

It boasts a wide range of capabilities, including surveillance, electronic warfare, functioning as an airborne decoy, and representing threats.               

Collaborative Development with Industry Leaders

Developed in collaboration with BAE Systems and Inzpire, this drone seamlessly integrates into various aerial platforms, simplifying central management from an operations center. BAE Systems is a British multinational defense, security, and aerospace company. Inzpire is a British company that specializes in defense and aviation technologies.

However, perhaps the most remarkable attribute of the Jackdaw, as highlighted by QinetiQ, is its disposability, making it suitable for applications across air, maritime, and land domains.

The Jackdaw platform is modular and can support a 66-pound (30 kg) internal payload. It can achieve over three hours of flight in theater, reach speeds of 400 knots (740 kph), and reach altitudes of 30,000 feet (9,144 meters).

QinetiQ describes the Jackdaw as a “disposable” UAS, but this does not mean that it is a single-use system.

It’s not meant to be expensive or complex. Instead, it’s designed to be affordable as well as easy to make. This enables quick deployment of numerous drones in situations that currently demand fewer, pricier crewed aerial vehicles.

The Jackdaw has the potential to revolutionize military operations. It offers a versatile tool for various missions, marking a significant change in how militaries operate.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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