31.1.2020

Requirement for a large maritime UAS for the UK Navy

First Sea Lord outlines ambitions for large UAV experimentation off Prince of Wales – link

Source: Jane’s

Article Headlines

  • The UK Royal Navy’s First Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin, has outlined plans to start using HMS Prince of Wales, the second Queen Elizabeth-class carrier, as an experimentation platform for UAV operations in 2021
  • Adm Radakin acknowledged that the scope of the plan was currently “very loose”, but that his challenge to the shipbuilding industry was to cultivate a future-oriented mindset that sought to ensure that both of the RN’s new aircraft carriers remained at the leading edge of technological advances going forward

Overview & Comments

  • The UK Navy has operated Insitu’s Scaneagle until 2017 on a contractor-owned, contractor-operated basis without an official replacement
  • The Royal Navy has recently shown interest in rotary-wing systems for possible deployment from its various maritime vessels
  • Using the new Queen Elizabeth class carriers will allow examining larger potential systems
  • There is no doubt that the Royal Navy, with its global presence, needs a permanent tactical or even MALE UAS relevant for the various requirements at hand. The Air Force is advancing with the Protector program after years of experience with the MQ-9. The Army operates the Watchkeeper UAS

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