Challenge for Russia? British ‘Hulk’ drones can fire deadly air-to-surface missiles and torpedoes

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British Aerospace Engineering (BAE) and drone company Malloy Engineering have revealed a concept heavy-lift drone that can carry either a trio of air-to-surface missiles or torpedoes in addition to a range of basic tactical battlefield attack, logistics and surveillance roles.

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The T-650 was first displayed with three Brimstone missiles at the Defense Vehicle Dynamic exhibition. So far, the quadcopter drone with eight rotors – two counter-rotating/coaxial on each arm – appears to be only a concept, with reports of its operational deployment remaining unconfirmed.

The BAE Systems-Malloy Engineering T-650 drone concept is shown carrying three Brimstone missiles.

The drone was first revealed in September 2021 at the Defense and Security Equipment International exhibition, with a tweet showing a BAE-made Sting Ray torpedo mounted on its landing gear, with the drone model itself hanging from the top.

This indicated that the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was still a concept. BAE Systems and Malloy Engineering call it a “plan to explore the development of an all-electric ‘heavy-lift’ unmanned aerial system (UAS) as a potential new solution to provide a cost-effective and sustainable rapid response capability to military forces. , security and civilian customers.

The final drone is expected to have a top speed of 140 kilometers per hour and the ability to carry a 300 kilogram payload with a range of 30 kilometers. The envisioned platform could be used for various applications such as ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore movements to support military and security operations and logistics.

“Emitting zero carbon, the unmanned system could help revolutionize military operations where heavy lifting is required, helping to keep military personnel out of harm’s way in hazardous situations or disaster areas while reducing the impact environment of our Armed Forces,” the article said on BAE’s website.

The platform still being in the concept and design stage is directly referred to when the article states that “the companies are exploring opportunities to collaborate on the capability, design, manufacture and marketing of the concept vehicle (with) through increased investment in research and development, as well as working with industrial partners, SMEs and universities. »

What can the drone do?

The platform’s UAV brochure states that the drone is expected to undertake automated logistics and resupply, close air support, maritime search and rescue, casualty evacuation (CASEVAC), surveillance and surveillance, anti-submarine warfare and naval mine countermeasures.

The naval role was revealed in a tweet by the handle @ClearBlueSee on May 5 this year, which showed three Malloy TRV-150s lined up one behind the other on the flight deck of what looks like a Royal Navy aircraft carrier – based on the ski ramp.

The three drones carried a torpedo, each hanging below, with the handle saying “Britain was sending Malloy Aeronautics heavy lift aircraft and anti-ship torpedo drones to Ukraine”. This information could not be verified in an official statement from the UK or Ukraine. No military action on Russian Navy vessels has been attributed to the system.

Going by the September 2021 photo where the T-650 was carrying the Sting Ray in its landing gear expands a ship’s range to hunt submarines, mainly giving smaller ships more flexibility as the drone takes up little square.

File Image: T-650 Drone Concept

Heavy transport drones – Mother Concept

The British Army tested Malloy’s TRV-150 in July 2021 for battlefield resupply of blood and ammunition, using six medium-heavy transport drones during Autonomous Advance Force 4.0.

“The drones were tasked with tactically resupplying the commandos with everything from ammunition to blood,” a Royal Navy statement said.

Interestingly, the TRV-150 was accompanied by other unmanned, submarine, surface and floating munitions systems, which undertook everything from sweeping underground for mines to attacking enemy installations such as missile and radar sites.

Drones like the T-650, even if made semi-autonomous to shuttle between predefined coordinates, can significantly improve tactical resupply, logistics and even medical evacuation activities, reducing cumulative task load. also minor but critical for ground troops.

While they cannot completely replace human soldiers, giving them part of the duties in non-complex, less intense combat situations frees up critical manpower that acts as a force multiplier. Naturally, such a primary use allows for further technical and doctrinal improvements.

This is not to say that even if they are vulnerable, their presence presents an additional target for the enemy that complicates his calculation of the battlefield, which may have to choose between engaging UAVs or other combat forces.

Finally, the biological advantage of an absolute zero-fatigue capability cannot be ignored, which weighs on troops, especially in high-intensity combat scenarios.

A single human operator, possibly from the logistics branches of land armies, can easily control a swarm of drones. While communicating with each other, they can be brought to a distant location to deliver blood, ammunition, or rations.

It remains to be seen whether “logistics drones” will have a positive impact on the battlefield and reduce pressure on manned troops. But they nevertheless have a promising future if their technology and economy are harmonized.


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