QinetiQ in partnership with Northrop Grumman have revealed plans to develop vertical take-off unmanned air system (VTUAS) for the UK Royal Navy at the ongoing DSEi exhibition held in London, UK.

The company plans to integrate the Northrop-built Fire Scout vehicle management system (VMS) into the Gazelle helicopter to create a UK VTUAS capability.

The VTUAS capability will provide a superior persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) system, which will enhance the maritime and war-fighting capabilities of the navy.

QinetiQ’s assistant technical director Jeremy Howitt said that the capability gaps in the Royal Navy can be improved with a reasonable shipborne VTUAS solution.

The helicopter conversion into a VTUAS platform will be carried out at QinetiQ MOD Boscombe Down, while the flight test work for the demonstrator programme will be conducted at the QinetiQ West Wales UAV Centre.