QinetiQ, the defence company, has developed the powerful Banshee Jet 80+ drones which simulate threatening aircraft to help the Royal Navy maintain its air defence capabilities. The Banshee drones are capable of flying up to 400mph, have a range of over 60 miles, and can be operated in various modes using a ground station.
The Royal Navy has formed a new flight at 700X Naval Air Squadron (NAS) based at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose to learn how to maintain and safely operate the fleet of drones. The adoption of Banshee is a significant step forward for the Navy in the use of remotely-piloted air systems (RPAS).
700X NAS is a pathfinder squadron conducting experimentation of air systems for defence and operates in-service uncrewed systems for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines. Lieutenant Commander Martin Howard, the commanding officer of 700X NAS, said: “The introduction of Banshee signals a revolutionary step forward in terms of technology.”
The Royal Navy’s first test flights of Banshee will be held at Predannack Airfield near RNAS Culdrose in the summer. The technology will allow the Navy to test different types of sensors without weaponising the systems, according to Lt Cdr Howard. The drone will be used for experimentation purposes and to train personnel on how to operate unmanned systems safely.