Drone helicopters that can search for Russian submarines are being developed for the Royal Navy to free up manned assets and pilots for other missions.

Trials will test whether the uncrewed aircraft can easily drop sonobuoys — small tube-shaped buoys that track submarines and transmit data back to the aircraft.

Under the plans, if a submarine is spotted, the aircraft will alert a crewed helicopter and call in support if necessary.

The Ministry of Defence will give Leonardo, one of the UK’s leading aerospace companies, £60 million over four years to design and develop a three-tonne demonstrator — less than a fifth of the weight of a Merlin helicopter. The drone is expected to carry out its first flight in 2025.

The investment in submarine-hunting


Source: www.thetimes.co.uk