October 5, 2023
A heavy lift drone has successfully launched a torpedo from the sky, in what is being described as a “world first.”
The T-600 drone, named after the Terminator and created by BAE Systems and Malloy Aeronautics, was deployed during a NATO training exercise, during which a human operator flew the quadcopter from a dock to the ocean, where it dropped the torpedo.
The electric-powered drone, which is the size of a small car, has a payload capacity of 441 pounds and can travel up to 87 miles per hour, with a range of up to 50 miles.
The training exercise, known as REPMUS (Robotic Experimentation and Prototyping with Maritime Uncrewed Systems), involved 15 NATO partners, along with Ireland and Sweden.
In a statement, NATO said the exercise provides a “safe and controlled area to test concepts, requirements, new and advancing technologies in respect of Maritime Uncrewed Systems.”
The T-600 is intended to trial and demonstrate different drone technologies, which will eventually be integrated into a new heavy-lift drone, the T-650.
According to NATO, the T-650 will offer “rapid reconfiguration capabilities” applicable to military, commercial and humanitarian uses, with particular applications in automated logistics and resupply, casualty evacuation and anti-submarine warfare.
“Uncrewed Aircraft Systems can be quick to launch and easy to carry,” said Dave Quick, BAE systems maritime services’ head of underwater weapons. “They represent another opportunity to keep higher-cost assets and their crew out of harm’s way and will have an increasing anti-submarine weapon (ASW) role alongside crewed helicopters and dedicated ASW surface vessels.”
“The T-600 has gone from concept to operational demonstrator in record time for a vehicle in this payload class,” said Oriol Badia, Malloy Aeronautics’ CEO. “The collaborative success seen at REPMUS adds to the list of promising capabilities being tested with this platform and proves that modular, multi-mission UAS can reduce the logistics burden and increase operational tempo at a fraction of the cost.”
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