First ever Royal Navy drone launched in £30million mission to stop Somali pirates

The Navy s first drone will spearhead the fight against piracyThe Navy’s first drone will spearhead the fight against piracy [Boeing Defence UK]
The Scaneagle unmanned aerial system (UAS) was launched from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Cardigan Bay in the Gulf and flew to a height of up to 19,500ft.The UAS was then brought back by a pilot on the ship using remote controls after it had acted as an eye in the sky over the horizon.The Scaneagle is one of two in a £30million deal with Boeing and each UAS will fly up to 300 hours a month.

The UAS is catapulted off the back of ships and then recovered by flying them back to be caught by a wire extended over the side. It is expected to be used shortly to spot pirates threatening shipping in the Indian Ocean.

Details emerged as Defence Secretary Philip Hammond threw open the RAF’s secret base for controversial drones – RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.

RAF crews here and at the USAF base in Creech, Nevada, fly the Reaper on surveillance and attack missions over Afghanistan.

The 35ft long remotely piloted air system can unleash weapons on insurgents with the trigger being pulled thousands of miles away.

In 54,000 hours of flying over Afghanistan it has fired 459 weapons, usually Hellfire missiles in support of Coalition troops under attack from insurgents.

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