QinetiQ has unveiled the ‘Rattler’ supersonic target that can be attached to the Banshee aerial target and launched during flight.

The firm say that Rattler was built to enable ships and aircraft to practice tracking missiles. The ground-launch capability of Rattler was launched at CANSEC in 2018.

“This new air-launch capability from the jet Banshee, has been successfully trialled in Canada over the past twelve months. This evolution in threat representation technology is a key part of QinetiQ’s strategy to lead and deliver world-class test and evaluation, training and mission rehearsal capabilities for governments around the world.”

Peter Longstaff, Managing Director of QinetiQ Target Systems says:

“Rattler is a low-cost manoeuvrable supersonic target and something brand new for the live fire, test and evaluation community. Rattler costs substantially less than any high-speed threat representative target currently on the market and being air-launched means that we can now conduct a full end-to-end threat representation profile.

We are delighted to add the air-launched Rattler to our portfolio of affordable next-generation targets which we can either provide as a product sale or deploy to a customer’s site as part of a managed service for test or training purposes.”

Once launched, according to the firm, Rattler is operated with a proprietary QinetiQ guidance system and flight termination system that enables full control at all times. Rattler can be equipped with customer requested payloads such as radar augmentation and miss distance indication.

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Mark Wallace

I always worry that testing anti-aircraft missiles with target drones rather with actual aircraft or missiles is a false representation of capabilities. I would rather see us testing against old harpoons, exocets or tomahawks and the new ones like LRASM or JSM/NSM. Make it a real challenge.


Been there… Done that… HMS BRILLIANT Gws 25 Seawolf versus Exocet 1983 on the Mod ranges off the Welsh coast.. 2 seawolf missiles fired. Both hit the exocet.
Numerous Low Level Hight Keeper Ruston Targets have been shot at. The LLHK is designed to simulate a sea skimmer and does it very very well


The US Military converts retired fighter jets into target drones. They have stepped up from old F-4 jets (aka QF-4 drones) to F-16s (aka QF-16 drones) These do provide a more realistic targets for anti-aircraft missiles.


Their QF-16 target drones are cheap, we should look at buying at least some. Could be great training.


The US used old Talos SAM’s that had been modified as sea skimmers on their ranges. Mach 2 ramjets at sea level. Phalanx, RAM, ESSM, Standard and AEGIS systems all tested.
The UK could have used Sea Dart in the same manner when retired but I don’t think we did.