QinetiQ: delivering where others can’t to protect sovereign interests and save lives

Date 1.9.2022

Founded in 2001, QinetiQ was previously part of the British Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) which was comparable to the US DARPA. The largest share of DERA, namely the non-nuclear testing and evaluation institutes, was transferred to the newly created QinetiQ.

In 2003, QinetiQ signed a 25-year long-term partnering agreement (LTPA) under which QinetiQ provides the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) with innovative and realistic tests and evaluation of military and civil platforms, systems, weapons and components on land, at sea and in the air. 

In May 2018, QinetiQ expanded further and acquired the E.I.S. Aircraft Operations business unit from the German E.I.S. Aircraft Group for 70 million euros. Since 1999, this business unit has provided target display services for the German Armed Forces and other NATO partners using Pilatus PC-9 and Pilatus PC-12 aircraft. This became the QinetiQ GmbH that now operates in the European market and is a trusted provider of airborne special mission operations and technical solutions, as well as Aerial Training Services to defence customers, including the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr), the US Armed Forces, as well as NATO forces and international defence industry customers. 

 

World-class capabilities and facilities across land, sea, air, space and cyber.

 

Aerial Training Services

QinetiQ in Germany provides live Aerial Training Services to German Forces (Bundeswehr) and NATO forces, which include ground units, naval vessels, military air operations and air defence systems.

QinetiQ’s fleet of Pilatus PC-9 and PC-12 aircraft, flown by highly skilled, military-trained pilots, deliver a range of services including target towing, close-air support, maritime air operations, ground control intercept training and air traffic control training. The PC-9s offer customers up to two towed targets per aircraft, with a distance of between three and five km from the aircraft to the target. With integrated sensors in the target and aircraft, instant results can be provided to customers.

This training is invaluable for air defence operators, as it provides realistic attack scenarios from one or multiple aircraft, as the team is also licensed to fly simulated attack manoeuvres and deliver Flying Test Bed key technology concept development and experimentation. 

The Training Services offered by QinetiQ and its aircraft fleet include a vast array of different capabilities and training opportunities. These include target towing for live firings and shooting campaigns for ground-, air- and naval-based units, asymmetric warfare support and renegade aircraft simulation. 

In addition to that, QinetiQ provides world-leading training for flight test professionals. As the world’s first test pilot school, QinetiQ’s ETPS has trained over 1500 students from no less than 32 different countries over the past 75 years. Building on its heritage as the premier school for military flight test professionals, it now also provides dedicated and fully accredited courses for civilian customers. 

Designed to build experience quickly, the intensive courses ensure graduates leave ETPS as highly skilled professionals who are ready to deliver powerful strategic and commercial advantage through programmes that optimise aircraft and systems design and performance, and accelerate time to market while supporting regulatory compliance.

Graduates from military courses are qualified to build operational capability from the outset. Maximising the performance and capabilities of air platforms also ensures the safety of personnel and supports the commissioning of billion-dollar acquisitions.

 

Similarly, the courses for civilian test professionals prepare students to drive commercial value from the outset. They are immediately able to manage flight test programmes that optimise aircraft and systems design, accelerate time to market and ensure full regulatory compliance.

Depth of experience, unique science and engineering expertise.

 

Air Land Integration

“If you can knit up the power of the Army on the land and the power of the air in the sky, then nothing will stand against you and you will never lose a battle”
 (Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery).

The concept of Air Land Integration (ALI) was first developed over the past decade and aims at better integration of assets during joint or combined operations in order to increase the effects of the committed forces. Its application nevertheless calls for both technical and human adaptation. QinetiQ therefore also provides forward air controller (Germany) and joint tactical air control (USAFE) training.
The basis of this is formed by Close Air Support (CAS) dry runs, with single aircraft and multi-ship formations as well as initial training and exercise support for Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) according to current NATO and US CAS doctrine (e.g. STANAG 3797 – ATP-3.3.2.2 B, Joint Pub 3-09.3), which can be performed day and night. Further training includes pre-deployment training support for specialised forces and units and participation in national and international (NATO) exercises in Germany and Europe, as well as further development and integration of systems such as the DaCAS-system.

With full motion live video downlink through the Webcam MX-10/15 EO/IR-camera and Navigation Based System for Aerial Targeting (NASAT), FMV Downlink can be provided in real-time to ground forces. Airborne reconnaissance and target acquisition can be carried out with the MX10/15, equipped with sensors used for detection, classification and identification. In addition to that, the training benefits from the integration of Live-Virtual-Constructive (LVC) in the German CTC of Land forces (Gefechtsübungszentrum des Heeres). Training in live-virtual-constructive environments pushes the limits of traditional training methods as it offers a more realistic, digitally immersive experience and it allows for the performance of tasks or manoeuvres that would be too dangerous if performed on a live platform.

 

Performance and protection at the core.

 

NASAT aids in delivering realistic Forward Air Controller (FAC) / JTAC and CAS. NASAT thereby works as a weapon control computer so our PC-9 and PC-12 aircraft can simulate the employment of NATO effectors within realistic time frames. The JTAC / FAC is operating within a tactical training environment; the instructor is supervising the scenario on a ground station and evaluates and debriefs by using the recorded flight profile and radio communication between JTAC / FAC and aircraft. All events (e.g. flight profile, simulated weapon release and impact) are displayed in real-time to create a dynamic and realistic environment.

Special operating forces can be equipped with tactical gear to receive and evaluate real-time footage on their mobile devices, which supports the assessment of the overall situation and greatly improves situational awareness in the area of operation. The real-time video transmissions support the evaluation of the overall situation and improve situational awareness in the area of operation

With its aircraft, QinetiQ can also provide various naval force training like for naval Live Fire Exercises and Short Range Air Defence (SHORAD) training, and training for Air Defence Radar operators through approaches and simulated attacks in one- or multi-ship formations. These attack runs can also include simulated airborne chemical attack simulations. Using its System for Simulation of Chemical Attacks (SSCA), spray attack flights with 2x 350-litre coloured water tanks can be flown on naval ships in order to train CRBN defence.

A QinetiQ Pilatus PC-9 aircraft simulates an airborne chemical attack against the Royal Danish Navy ocean patrol vessel HDMS Thetis (F357) in the Baltic Sea, as part of Baltic Operations (BALTOPS)

NATO forces need to maximise their defence capability and be fully prepared for all imaginable military engagements that can occur around the globe. QinetiQ unfolds its full potential by offering military operational readiness training; the training is highly cost-effective compared to traditional in-house military training support and can be rolled out quickly according to customer requirements.

Innovations that ensure safety, security and smooth operations.

 

Maritime Patrol Support

As a certified Aircraft Design Organisation (EASA Part 21 J), the team provides the modification of PC-12s for special mission aircraft; this includes the company’s newest offering – a well-equipped, civilian-certified Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) based on the Pilatus PC-12 aircraft. These special mission aircraft are equipped with radars, avionics, optronics and video options and are used, for example, for range clearing operations before and during weapons test trials. Our Maritime Patrol Support can monitor an area of interest of up to 40,000 square kilometres, delivering more effective monitoring than land-based radar surveillance installations. The MPA ensures the area is free of activity, allows for longer endurance and offers better surveillance results, which enables extended firing campaigns and increased use of the Range.

 The PC-12 is very easy to maintain and therefore offers customers a high degree of reliability day and night, and due to its single Pratt-Whitney PT6A-67B engine also offers a low cost per flight hour compared to its two engine counterparts. The aircraft offers flexibility of usage, as any kind of sensor ranging from ELINT and Radar to Optic sensors can be installed. The cabin can be adapted to fit various mission racks dependent on the current loadout of the aircraft.

 

One of these aircraft, the PC-12 with designation D-FRMT was also present at QinetiQ’s exhibition at ILA 2022. It is equipped with the Hensoldt PrecISR 1000. The AESA radar operating in the X-Band frequency is able to aid in conducting a wide variety of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance missions. It has the capability to collect data on Air, Sea and Land targets and track more than a thousand targets at the same time: 

It can detect low-flying aircraft above the canopy or above the stormy sea, gathering information on the direction and speed of a flying target for correlation with data from other sensors, e.g. EO/IR using its Air Mode: Air Moving Target Indication (AMTI).
At sea, it is capable of tracking small and large targets in high-sea states and giving an indication of the target size, velocity and direction of the vessels, as well as rapid identification of maritime vessels that do not have corresponding AIS or IFF signature. Its Maritime Modes are OSL (Open Sea Long Range), MMTI (Maritime Moving Target Indication), ISAR (Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar) and RP (Range Profiling).
Over land, it can track and plot moving objects on the ground. Changes in the environment can be detected by comparing previously captured SAR images. Its Land modes are Spot and Strip SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) and GMTI (Ground Moving Target Indication).

Creative and flexible solutions to meet customer needs.

This equipment makes it suitable for tasks like range clearing before maritime live fire exercises, but also coastal surveillance, and detection of various threats to maritime security such as human and drug trafficking, piracy, illegal fishing, oil dumping, terrorism, smuggling or environmental threats.

 

Text by: Alexander Eckstein

Edited by: Kateřina Urbanová

Photo credit: QinetiQ



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