In a leap forward for aerospace technology, QinetiQ, in collaboration with BAE Systems, has accomplished a flight test featuring the combat aircraft nose system, or fast jet radome, installed on the RJ100. 

This achievement, underpinned by the Long Term Partnering Agreement with the Ministry of Defence (MoD), marks a step towards bolstering radar and sensor integration capabilities for future aerospace programmes. 

The ATD’s transformed RJ100 platform, now a versatile flying laboratory, establishes itself as a key player in fostering technology developments and specialized training within the aviation sector. This trial not only strengthens UK flight test capabilities but also heralds a new era of collaborative innovation between QinetiQ and BAE Systems.

The ATD, backed by the Long Term Partnering Agreement with the UK MoD, has demonstrated its versatility by conducting the pioneering flight test with the combat aircraft nose system installed onto the RJ100 airframe.

The successful trial is the first major Ministry of Defence trial conducted under the Category 1 Flight Test in the last three decades.

Integrating the fast jet radome onto the RJ100 airframe is an achievement that enhances UK flight test capabilities. This development builds upon QinetiQ’s Aviation Engineering Centre’s strong track record in aircraft design and modification, a key offering under the Long Term Partnering Agreement.

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The ATD, transformed into a flying laboratory and classroom, offers a robust platform for research and development projects. Equipped with power and data backbones and flexible workstations, the ATD facilitates the integration of experimental technologies.

This modular multi-role capability caters to the needs of both military and civil customers, supporting cost-effective specialist training, experimentation, air carriage, and test and evaluation activities.

Steve Wynd, Engineering Director – Air Sector at BAE Systems, emphasised the advantages of using a flying test bed to accelerate the testing, development, and validation of new digital technologies. “Using a flying test bed in this way allows us to much more rapidly test, develop and prove new digital technologies, with particular focus on Model-Based Systems Engineering. We’re really excited in the potential this provides and look forward to our continued collaboration with QinetiQ.”

As QinetiQ and BAE Systems continue their collaborative efforts, this achievement opens doors to a future where radar and sensor integration capabilities reach new heights, driving advancements in both military and civilian aerospace.

QinetiQ’s full-year results for FY23 exceed guidance and market expectations. After an impressive fourth quarter, the company announced a record full-year order volume of $1.7bn, ahead of expectations.