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I’m amazed the RN hasn’t apparently considered any of the helicopter UAV’s currently available to carry a Crowsnest, given the need for round the clock availability in conflict zones.


I’m not sure any of the current systems would be able to lift the Crowsnest for the necessary time. Plus any UAV would need a complete and separate support system on the carrier.


The C version of the Fire Scout would probably be capable of lifting Crowsnest.


I am a believer in fixed wing flight, mechanically its more efficient. The mistake was not to fit traps on the carriers. That said Crowsnest should be made fully automated and trial fitted in a drone. The weight saving on crewless aircraft is significant and is rewarded by greatly increased range, endurance and altitude performance. What would Crowsnest weigh in automated form?


USMC are looking at the Bell V-247 for AEW as they can’t launch E-2D off their small carriers. Planned missions include loitering for 12 hours at 100 miles from the carrier. Looks like a good project for the RN to get involved with.


Its very troubling that we have stood still and let others develop this technology. I totally agree that defending the littoral generally including Portsmouth, Gibraltar, Falklands, Middle East and Clyde areas should be an absolute priority otherwise we will likely see a hostile pre-emptive strike on key assets by any potential power. We were caught on the hop by the magnetic mine in 1939 and the Italian charioteers, etc in the Med from 1941 where they immobilised the Old QE and Valiant. It does worry one that the Naval Staff still have trouble thinking outside the box.
What would Nelson Do?


What we need to think about most of all is what our enemies might do.IEDs should not have come as a surprise, our enemies are not stupid (the Taliban actually are stupid, but their are not THAT stupid)


Good article, un-manned is the future, land, sea and air, it is vital we have a lead in this area.


Lead?Are you crazy, the RN rented a very small UAV for a couple of years and I’m not aware that they even have a toy quadcopter at the moment.


I’m not sure Stephen was necessarily claiming that we have a lead now but that we should aspire to have one in the future. The UK industrial base has a lot of strengths in stuff like control software, AI, satellites (needing compact robust systems), aerospace/automotive including F1 racing (again, lightweight, aerodynamic and engine efficiency etc). We have many of the critical building blocks to create some great long-term indigenous solutions. Thinks like T31e are on the table partly for, at least in the government’s eyes, export potential. I really think that the combination of potential worldwide export sales plus existing UK industrial strengths, not to mention the extra capability they would add to RN vessels, make the 200kg – 300kg UAV market something that the UK should really look to get into.


Mission bays “could” add to the frigates capabilities.The money is already overcommitted.Tiny international pariah Isreal owns the UK UAV market,industrial and strategic suicide.


It’s the inexorable conclusion that the downvoters don’t like.


Oh look someone agrees with me!

Captain Nemo

I’m quite enthusiastic about the Bell V-247, I think they would round out the air wing on a carrier quite well, potentially providing AEW, air to air refueling, resupply, ISTAR and close support over a beachhead. I guess if we could teach it to dip a sonar we could leave that to them too.
“It is named the V-247 by the company because it is planned that a two-aircraft team can provide 24/7 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) over a given area”.
If true, that would be a huge leap forward for us.
Does anyone know why the Royal Navy didn’t take to Scan Eagle, it would have been nice if they’d persisted with it. I think it was someone on this forum who pointed out what a good teammate it would be for a five inch gun; absolute bargain prices too, I’d have thought it would have been right up our street.
Informative article as always, many thanks.

“Success tomorrow depends on disruption today”
They never thought of just locking the twitter defence community in a room full of beer?


If the defence budget is x% of GDP, are resources going to be unavailable if GDP diminishes?
All defence initiatives seem to assume a fixed environment which is far from realistic.