QinetiQ successfully conducts inaugural flight test with fitted fast jet radome


In partnership with BAE, QinetiQ’s Airborne Technology Demonstrator delivers landmark trial of future radar and sense integration capabilities.

RJ100 with combat aircraft nose system (fast jet radome) installed

QinetiQ’s Airborne Technology Demonstrator (ATD) in partnership with BAE Systems, underpinned by the Long Term Partnering Agreement with the MOD, has conducted a flight test with the combat aircraft nose system (fast jet radome) installed onto the RJ100, paving the way to future radar and sensor integration capability. This will enable the ATD to support a breadth of future programmes, as the aircraft expands its offering as the most capable flying testbed available in the UK today to support a variety of technology developments in the sector, and will now become a core T3E capability offering under the LTPA.

The flight also represents the first major Ministry of Defence (MOD) trial conducted under Category 1 Flight Test and is the first trial of its kind in the UK for 30 years. The addition of the radome is an exciting development in UK flight test capability and builds on QinetiQ’s Aviation Engineering Centre (AEC) exceptional track-record in aircraft design and modification, a key T3E offering under the LTPA.

Using an RJ100 airframe, the addition of the radome 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 multiple flexible workstations to enable research and development projects to be quickly and easily integrated.

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. The aircraft is purpose built to simplify the route of getting technology under development into airborne environment.

Nic Anderson, Chief Executive UK Defence, QinetiQ: Building on QinetiQ’s Aviation Engineering Centre’s exceptional track record in aircraft design and modification, the ATD represents an exciting development in UK flight test capability. Working with BAE Systems in collaboration to support the development of future sensors and technology is a great demonstration of our expertise in aviation engineering, airworthiness and test and evaluation.

Steve Wynd, Engineering Director – Air Sector, BAE Systems: 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.