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.
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(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.
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)
2 x Engines of unknown make, model, and output power positioned to each side of the rear fuselage.
(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.
(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
Jackdaw - Base Series Name.
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective aerial campaigns / operations / aviation periods.
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Image from official QinetiQ marketing materials / press release.
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