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Royal Navy checks heavy-lift drones to produce plane carriers


The Royal Navy’s 700X Naval Air Squadron has accomplished intensive testing of heavy-lift drones at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall, UK, to find out their health for resupplying plane carriers and different frontline naval operations.

Robotic plane have already confirmed themselves as reconnaissance and weapon platforms, and they’re shifting into the realm of full-on aerial fight, so it is not stunning that the Navy can also be eager on utilizing them in provide and different assist roles. The query is, are business drones as much as the job, or is it essential to construct bespoke navy variations first?

To discover out, 700X Naval Air Squadron, which leads growth of cutting-edge uncrewed plane for the Navy, partnered with personal corporations for a sequence of checks. The first tranche was accomplished in 2021 and proved so profitable {that a} second, extra intensive sequence, referred to as the Heavy Lift Challenge, was scheduled for this 12 months.

For the most recent trials, 700X, the Navy’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer, and Defence Equipment and Support’s (DE&S) Future Capability Group awarded a £300,000 (US$360,000) growth contract to aerospace corporations Malloy and Windracers. They had been then chosen to check a Malloy T-600 quadcopter with a payload capability of 250 kg (551 lb) over lengthy distances, and a Windracers Autonomous Systems’ Ultra fixed-wing drone that may deal with 100 kg (220 lb) over lengthy distances.

T-600 in flight

T-600 in flight

Dan Rosenbaum/RNAS Yeovilton

The objective was to see how properly such plane might carry provides, together with humanitarian shops, first support, ammunition, and spare elements to the frontline for catastrophe aid or Royal Marine operations, in addition to dropping provides to vessels like plane carriers.

Along with different checks in numerous operational eventualities, a platform was constructed that replicated a Queen-Elizabeth-class plane service flight deck. A Windracers Ultra then carried a 100-kg payload from 1,000 km (621 miles) away and made a sluggish method earlier than dropping its load with pinpoint accuracy.

A UAV operator prepares the UAV for launch at Predannack Airfield during flight tests

A UAV operator prepares the UAV for launch at Predannack Airfield throughout flight checks

Dan Rosenbaum/RNAS Yeovilton

The hope is to rapidly improve the payloads in numerous environments utilizing a greater variety of drones.

“The Heavy Lift Challenge is surpassing all our expectations,” said Brigadier Dan Cheesman, Royal Navy Chief Technology Office. “This is a real, game-changing collaboration between the Royal Navy, DE&S’ Future Capability Group and trade and has, to this point, produced fairly spectacular outcomes – all inside the identical business framework we’re in a position to iterate as one-team.

“We are not there quite yet, but in perhaps as little as two months’ time, we will have the final ‘show don’t tell’ evidence we need to commence scaling to the hands of the warfighter at unprecedented pace.

“This is a real, game-changing collaboration between the Royal Navy, DE&S’ Future Capability Group and trade.”

Source: Royal Navy





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