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QinetiQ Jackdaw

Modular Uncrewed Aerial System (UAS) [ 2028 ]

Announced in September of 2023, the QinetiQ Jackdaw is a promising UAS with swarming capabilities coming out of Britain.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 09/15/2023 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The "Jackdaw" Uncrewed Aerial System (UAS) is a newly-announced drone concept by QinetiQ of Britain. The product is being billed as an affordable over-battlefield measure capable of swarming attacks with a high degree of modularity in-built. Beyond this, there is the promise of high-performance from a twin-engine arrangement, giving the Jackdaw enhanced capabilities in most any contested zone.

The versatility of the aircraft is such that the Jackdaw will be used to cover the gamut of standing battlespace requirements today: the typical Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR) role, critical Electronic Warfare (EW) sorties, serve as an active / passive aerial decoy for allied warplanes, and as an active, direct-attack "swarming" solution against unfortunate ground targets. Additionally, this UAS will be able to operate over land or in the unforgiving maritime environment.

Artist renderings showcase a conventional aircraft design with a centralized tubular fuselage, low-mounted / rear-mounted swept-back mainplanes with clipped tips, and a single vertical tailfin over the rear. Outboard of either side of the rear fuselage will sit a pair of small engine nacelles.

Proposed operational range of the Jackdaw currently sits at three hours of flight time from the launch point. With its twinjet arrangement, the drone will have a maximum speed of 460 miles-per-hour and operate up to an altitude of 30,000 feet. Operation will be largely autonomous with direct-operator input as necessary.

The aircraft is to be designed from the outset to easily integrate into existing NATO / Western operating architectures, working with allied aircraft such as the Lockheed F-35 Lightning II strike platforms serving as 'mothership'. The internal payload will support up to 65 pounds in mission equipment with support for optional external loads proposed.

As it stands, the Jackdaw is a wholly unique, promising, and highly-optimistic venture in a world seeing growing reliance on drones to handle a bulk of the "dirty work" in contested airspaces. Make no mistake, the age of the drone is here as more and more companies and countries begin to throw their hat into the ring of this lucrative industry.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

United Kingdom national flag graphic
United Kingdom

Program in Progress.

National flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom (possible)
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Close-Air Support (CAS)
Developed to operate in close proximity to active ground elements by way of a broad array of air-to-ground ordnance and munitions options.
Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.
Unmanned Capability
Aircraft inherently designed (or later developed) with an unmanned capability to cover a variety of over-battlefield roles.

monoplane / low-mounted / swept-back
Design utilizes a single primary wing mainplane; this represent the most popular mainplane arrangement.
Mainplanes are low-mounted along the sides of the fuselage.
The planform features wing sweep back along the leading edges of the mainplane, promoting higher operating speeds.
(Structural descriptors pertain to the Jackdaw production variant)
Installed: 2 x Engines of unknown make, model, and output power positioned to each side of the rear fuselage.
Max Speed
460 mph
(740 kph | 400 kts)
Cruise Speed
345 mph
(555 kph | 300 kts)
Max. Speed Diff
+115 mph
(+185 kph | 100 kts)
30,003 ft
(9,145 m | 6 mi)
1,025 mi
(1,650 km | 3,056 nm)

♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030

(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the Jackdaw production variant. Performance specifications showcased above are subject to environmental factors as well as aircraft configuration. Estimates are made when Real Data not available. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database or View aircraft by powerplant type)
Mission equipment to satisfy the ISR role.

Supported Types

(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Jackdaw - Base Series Name.

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Images Gallery

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Image of the QinetiQ Jackdaw
Image from official QinetiQ marketing materials / press release.

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