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QinetiQ unveils ‘Jackdaw’ uncrewed aerial system and collaboration deal

A low-cost, high-performance disposable “Jackdaw’ uncrewed aerial system has been unveiled by United Kingdom-headquartered multinational defence technology company QinetiQ.

A low-cost, high-performance disposable “Jackdaw’ uncrewed aerial system has been unveiled by United Kingdom-headquartered multinational defence technology company QinetiQ.

QinetiQ announced the launch of Jackdaw UAS for use in swarming and collaborative autonomous operations, crewed-uncrewed teaming, as well as to accomplish missions involving reconnaissance, electronic warfare, airborne decoy, and threat representation.

Jackdaw is expected to provide affordable combat mass and battlespace capabilities to reduce operational risk and dependence on expensive crewed aerial platforms.


Mick Andrae, QinetiQ robotics and autonomous systems global campaign director, said Jackdaw can team with other UAS and crewed platforms to provide enhanced mission effectiveness, reduce threat to human lives, and reduce the cost of conducting operations.

“The Jackdaw concept leverages QinetiQ’s expertise in very low-cost, high-performance aerial targets, such as the Banshee family, and is enhanced with autonomous mission management and human-machine teaming capabilities,” he said.

“Critically, Jackdaw’s autonomous goal-based mission management system is intended to integrate with NATO and allied open architectures, ensuring interoperability with existing and future crewed and uncrewed systems.

“This, combined with the very low-cost aerial target design philosophy, makes Jackdaw highly suitable for use as a disposable UAS in air, maritime, and land domain applications.”

The company has also announced the signing of a framework agreement with BAE Systems to collaborate on autonomous uncrewed air systems and mission management systems.

In the first stage of the collaboration, the joint team will explore the use of BAE Systems’ autonomous mission management system on uncrewed platforms.

“The UK and other nations want to field high-performance uncrewed air systems capable of delivering military effects across a range of operational scenarios,” said FalconWorks managing director Dave Holmes.

“Our agreement with QinetiQ will see us work together to deliver this capability to our customers.”

Under the framework agreement signed at Defence and Security Equipment International in London, each company will continue to develop their own UAS aligned to a common product strategy that will enable effective collaboration on existing and future crewed and uncrewed platform concept development.

Robert Dougherty

Robert Dougherty

Robert is a senior journalist who has previously worked for Seven West Media in Western Australia, as well as Fairfax Media and Australian Community Media in New South Wales. He has produced national headlines, photography and videography of emergency services, business, community, defence and government news across Australia. Robert graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Majoring in Public Relations and Journalism at Curtin University, attended student exchange program with Fudan University and holds Tier 1 General Advice certification for Kaplan Professional. Reach out via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via LinkedIn.
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