QinetiQ visit hits the target for UAS Challenge winners

Students from the University of Bath visited QinetiQ Target Systems (QTS) following their victory in this summer’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Challenge.

University of Bath team at QTS Ashford

The undergraduates took a tour of the QTS factory in Ashford, Kent, which produces advanced unmanned aerial, nautical and land-based targets, used in the testing and evaluation of new weapons systems. They learned how the company solves complex challenges, saw the targets being manufactured, and completed a series of tasks designed to test their problem-solving abilities and technical knowledge.

The visit was part of a prize awarded to the University for coming first in the UAS Challenge in June 2017, organised by The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and hosted by QinetiQ at Snowdonia Aerospace Centre in northwest Wales. The annual competition encourages undergraduates from all over the world to design, build and fly their own unmanned aircraft to complete specific mission objectives.

Graham Wise, Senior Campaign Manager UAS, QinetiQ, said: “The University of Bath were deserving winners, showcasing an excellent aircraft that was the product of ingenuity, technical expertise and collaborative skills. We invited them to QinetiQ Target Systems to show how they could apply these skills in a real career working with unmanned systems. The qualities the team displayed in the challenge are highly valued in this industry, and we are always looking for exceptional young recruits to join us in pushing the boundaries of UAS innovation.”      

Freddie Sherratt, a student at University of Bath and a member of the winning team, said: “At the competition we came away the overall champions, with awards for innovation and design. The system we built was a flying wing type, which had advanced electronics in it and lots of redundant systems to allow it to fly completely autonomously. The main takeaway from the challenge was my competency in engineering. The experience of constructing the aircraft, selecting components and wiring it was invaluable. It’s been really interesting to look around here; I’m in awe of some of the internals of the aircraft. The whole experience was absolutely fantastic.” 

The UAS Challenge is one of four student engineering challenge events run by IMechE, alongside the Formula Student, the Railway Challenge and the Design Challenge. It is one of several QinetiQ-sponsored events designed to get young people engaged in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Others include the Schools’ Powerboat Challenge and European International Submarine Races.