UK aerospace and defence group Meggitt plans to use the Show to formally unveil what it claims is the world¹s first all-new target drone for a decade.
To be named Voodoo, it will be around 50% larger than Meggitt's current Banshee drone. It will be powered by a 145hp (108kW) engine developed by specialist UK engine manufacturer Ilmor, which makes the engines for the McLaren-Mercedes and CART racing cars. The new engine will be called Fury. Terry Timms, managing director, Defence Systems, for Meggitt, says it should be capable of powering Voodoo at a speed of up to 330kt (610km/h) over a mission of up to 90 minutes' duration.
The new drone is aimed at the high-speed subsonic target market currently served by jet-powered vehicles such as Northrop Grumman's Firebee and Chukar.
Meggitt is aiming for a substantial price advantage over the Firebee and Chukar, says Timms.
"They tend to be around $300-400,000 per target, usually end up towing a target behind them to protect the high-value asset and that brings the speed down to 300kt.
"We are aiming to be around half the price of current jet targets. You can put a lot of enhancements on the target, which increase the price, but the average price would be around $100,000 for the basic target configuration.
"First flight is due around August and we hope to put it into production from the first quarter of next year. The programme is right on schedule. We are currently at Boscombe Down, wind tunnel testing the engine and airframe.
"The targets area is a rapidly changing area for us. We are now into the next cycle of many countries changing their weapons systems, so there are a lot more opportunities around the world than we¹ve seen in the past five years."
The Voodoo is due to be unveiled on Tuesday.
Source: Flight Daily News