QinetiQ, as part of a new Marine Surface Target Service, has signed a contract with Autonomous Surface Vehicles (ASV) for the supply and operational support of autonomous surface target vessels.
The partnership is part of a new initiative enabling QinetiQ's Marine Surface Target Service to rapidly and effectively meet customer needs for trials and training against appropriate targets. The Marine Surface Target Service is an innovative addition to the wider QinetiQ Target Services, which offers aerial and underwater targets for ‘real’ test, evaluation and training.
As part of this capability, QinetiQ, working closely with ASV, will supply a range of dynamic surface targets to emulate the threat posed by Fast Inshore Attack Craft (FIAC). With that threat increasing, dynamic surface targets play an essential role in weapon trials and in the training of Joint Operational teams.
With speeds of over 50 knots, the targets are fast and versatile and can be customized to meet many trial or training requirements, including being fitted with Miss Distance Indication (MDI) systems to provide accurate scoring. Precision tracking using high quality GPS can be provided and thermal, radar and visual enhancements (such as mock weapons) can also be added. The targets are deployable anywhere in the UK (integrated with the QinetiQ managed MOD Air and Maritime Ranges for firing engagements) or worldwide, either in support of single campaigns or as a long-term managed service.
The first QinetiQ-owned vessel to deliver this service is a C-Target 13, which has already seen service in support of a number of contracts at MOD Aberporth for both towing and direct fire engagements.
John Anderson, Managing Director for Weapons at QinetiQ, said, “FIACs are a challenging target to detect and defeat and QinetiQ’s new service can support all phases of weapon trials and training, including seeker and sensor development, laser targeting and both air to surface and surface to surface missile firings and gunnery. Deployable either manned or unmanned, the vessels can also be used to tow a target. With an active involvement in all military environments, QinetiQ has the necessary skills and experience to design, build and procure bespoke targets to meet the needs of all three armed forces.”
ASV design, build and operate unmanned marine vehicle systems for commercial, government and military customers and have been working with QinetiQ for the past three years. Vince Dobbin, Head of Business Development at ASV, said;
“The requirement for surface targets has grown significantly over the last two years and QinetiQ represents an important part of ASV’s business. Having provided QinetiQ with nine vessels in the last 18 months, this contract will enable ASV to support QinetiQ and their clients through a simple and effective contracting mechanism.”