July, 23

    Britain tests transport drone’s ability to land, take off from ship

    Featured in:

    LONDON — A twin-engine transport drone has landed on the deck of a British aircraft carrier in what the Royal Navy said is a first for the service.

    The drone, dubbed HCMC, flew on and off the deck of the HMS Prince of Wales during a trial near the coast of Cornwall, southwest England, the Royal Navy announced Sept. 7.

    The drone, developed by British company W Autonomous Systems, flew for about 20 minutes from an airfield at Predannack to then touch down safely on the carrier’s deck.

    After unloading a small payload from drone, it took off again and returned to Predannack.

    The Royal Navy said in its statement that the aim of program is to “deploy drones with a UK Carrier Strike Group in the future, using them to transfer stores and supplies — such as mail or spare parts — between ships, without the need to launch helicopters.”

    “It’s a vital step along the way to operating crewless aircraft safely alongside F-35 Lightning jets and naval Merlin and Wildcat helicopters which are currently the backbone of the Fleet Air Arm,” the statement explained.

    The twin-boom, twin-engine drone is capable of delivering payloads weighing up to 100 kilograms (220 pounds) with a maximum range of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles). The aircraft incorporates an autopilot system developed by British company Distributed Avionics, which eliminates the need for trained individuals to remotely control it.

    The exercise wasn’t the first time a drone operated from the HMS Prince of Wales, with previous experiments including small quadcopters and the Banshee target drone; the latter launches by catapult and use parachutes to land.

    However, the Royal Navy said the latest trials were in a “different league,” involving a larger, more capable uncrewed aircraft than anything previously tried.

    The trials took place as the ship departed U.K. waters for an event off the East Coast of the United States taking place over the next few months involving drills with F-35 fighters, Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, and the General Atomic-made Mojave drone.

    The HMS Prince of Wales was scheduled deploy this time last year, but suffered a propeller shaft failure soon after leaving its base in Portsmouth.

    The HCMC drone trial is one of a series of experimental and operational drone programs with the Royal Navy, including a deal with Leonardo to develop an unmanned helicopter demonstrator and the purchase of Schiebel’s Camcopter S-100 for surveillance missions.

    Andrew Chuter is the United Kingdom correspondent for Defense News.

    Source link

    Find us on

    Latest articles

    - Advertisement -

    Related articles

    Stratolaunch sets sights on hypersonic speeds for next Talon-A...

    Following a successful test flight in which its Talon-A vehicle reached near-hypersonic speeds, Stratolaunch is preparing...

    Britain finalizes deal to buy 14 Chinook helicopters

    LONDON — Britain’s defense secretary has committed to a deal to acquire a new fleet of...

    Revamped KC-46 vision system slipping into 2026, nearly two...

    The rollout of the Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker’s new remote vision system will likely slip into...

    Pentagon may build a second track for hypersonic ground...

    The Pentagon is exploring options to build a second track to test hypersonic systems that can...

    India approves full development of fifth-generation fighter

    CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand — India’s Cabinet Committee on Security has given a green light to continue...

    Pentagon clears F-35 for full-rate production

    The Defense Department said Tuesday it has officially made its long-awaited decision to move forward with...