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UK Tests Heavy-Lift Drones for Frontline Military Operations

The UK’s Royal Navy has successfully tested two heavy-lift drones that can carry supplies to Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers to support the country’s frontline operations.

During the trial, the cutting-edge Malloy Aeronautics T-600 quadcopter managed to transport a load of more than 250 kilograms (550 pounds) over a short distance.

Windracers Autonomous Systems’ Ultra drone also demonstrated its capability to carry 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of payloads over a long distance of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles).

The unmanned aircraft was able to slow down and drop its package onto a platform replicating the flight deck of the Portsmouth-based Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier.

According to Royal Navy chief technology officer Dan Cheesman, the heavy-lift challenge surpassed expectations by producing “spectacular results.”

“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,” he said in a press release.

‘Important Milestone’

The recently conducted drone tests are expected to open the doors for the Royal Navy to utilize unmanned systems to support a wide range of military operations, from disaster relief to frontline combat.

Future Capability Group head James Gavin said that the activity marked an “important milestone” for the country since it showed the scalability and usability of autonomous technology.

“We have demonstrated how our collaboration with the Royal Navy and industry partners can expedite the procurement process – enabling us to deliver cutting-edge technology at pace,” he said.

Gavin further asserted that the testing would help the UK military retain and grow its operational advantage over other European nations.

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