Meggitt Defence Systems' (MDS) latest aerial target, Voodoo, is exceeding all expectations in development, says managing director Terry Timms.
Twelve production examples of the high-speed (610km/h, 330kt), twin-engined target are being built for one unnamed country and the company expects to deliver Voodoos to another four or five clients over the next 18 months. "We're adding some extra capabilities to them at the moment to cope with changes requested by customers," says Timms.
Among these is the ability to tow another target up to 305m (1,000ft) behind the Voodoo plus enhancements to change Voodoo's radar signature through radar reflectors.
The vehicle's speed, altitude capabilities (up to 7,625m) and duration of up to 2h is "the Holy Grail for a lot of our customers", he adds.
However, aerial target drone manufacturers should never forget that their products "are really only platforms to carry threat simulation systems".
He foresees a trend towards cheaper, more cost-effective platforms to which customers will ask suppliers to fit increasingly sophisticated threat simulation equipment.
MDS, which has increasingly carved out niches for itself in a series of military aviation equipment sectors such as aerial target, scoring and ammunition handling systems, believes in sticking to areas in which it feels comfortable.
Asked about the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) sector, Timms comments: "It's a difficult market. It's vastly over-populated." Many competitors, he says, are providing bespoke systems and trying to sell them to customers who are not particularly certain exactly what they want from a UAV system.
Similarly, he does not see the company stepping up to the top tier of companies: "We're not interested in being a prime contractor. There's too much risk. We'd much rather be a major sub-contractor."
Meggitt Defence Systems is at exterior stand EO4 and Chalet C13-14.
Source: Flight Daily News