QS3 Capabilities and Features

The NightHawk is currently at Technology Readiness Level 6, signifying it is a functioning prototype, ready for advanced development and commercialization.

The NightHawk QS3 platform is specifically designed for efficient and extended operations, featuring low acoustic and thermal signatures.  Advanced aerodynamics and a high-efficiency, turbocharged aero-diesel engine contribute significantly to the aircraft’s performance for manned or unmanned missions, delivering ranges of 3000 to 5000NM at airspeeds between 80 and150 knots.  Under certain circumstances, an unmanned endurance while carrying a 500-lb payload is measured in days rather than hours.

With well over 150 cubic feet of internal payload space, and multiple other internal and external mounting points, the NightHawk can carry a staggering variety of sensors, other equipment or support material for delivery to distant locations. The platform features two hardpoints, each capable of carrying up to 450 lbs., for mounting external sensors, auxiliary fuel, or other equipment.

NightHawk is designed for rapid long-distance deployment by C-17 cargo aircraft, with its outer wing panels easily removed in under 30 minutes by two people and the wing panels are stowed by hanging and securing alongside the NightHawk fuselage.

Special Capabilities

Unnoticed ISR

Conducts ISR unnoticed in close proximity
to Individuals of Interest 

Persistent Surveillance

Persistent covert surveillance and tracking
of Individuals of Interest

Detailed Imagery

Capture EO/IR imagery with extreme detail
due to clandestine, close-in operation
to targets of interest

Friendly or Hostile Overwatch

Quiet, nighttime, low-level, manned or unmanned overwatch of ground-based activities for tracking, monitoring, protection, or other undetected actions

Clear View

High wing & retractable gear for
clear fields of view

Three Crew

Pilot, copilot/sensor operator, second sensor operator / special
operator / medic / FAC(A) / TAC(A) / etc.

Two Gimbals

Two 15-inch EO/IR gimbals in one sensor bay

Enhanced Safety

Enhanced safety with backup retractable 300 pound-thrust turbojet in case of emergency or temporary need for additional performance

Rapid Reconfiguration

Rapidly reconfigure aircraft cabin with large cargo door to enable cargo delivery, paradrop, medevac, other multi-utility needs

Long Missions

Long missions/multiple targets enabled by:
two 30-gallon external tanks in addition to main tanks,
crew rest/comfort is designed-in

Unique Features

  • Two engines – both use globally available jet fuel
  • Second engine normally concealed in fuselage, extended
    for emergencies or short-duration speed boost
  • Generous space for three crew in tandem
  • Room for two retractable 15” sensor gimbals
  • Multiple covert spaces for antennas and sensors
  • Quiet operations enabled by:
    • Composite low-drag airframe & sailplane-like wings
    • Slow turning propeller in ‘quiet mode’, with controllable pitch
    • Enclosed exhaust and cooling air mixing tunnel to reduce / cancel / re-direct engine noise and thermal signature away from enemy