U.S. tests maritime drones for Britain

July 15, 2013 at 9:36 AM
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PATUXENT RIVER, Md., July 15 (UPI) -- Three different unmanned aerial systems have been launched from a U.S. Navy demonstration vessel for Britain's Defense Science and Technology Laboratory.

The Navy said the capability demonstrations took place off the coast of Maryland last month from the Stiletto demonstration ship. The U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division conducted the experiments.

"Stiletto [capability demonstrations] are conducted in partnership with a host warfighting command or government organization," said Rob Tutton, NSWC Carderock engineer and Stiletto Maritime Demonstration program manager. "For this event, DSTL wanted to observe the operation of UAV's from a small boat platform for maritime missions."

Details on the unmanned aerial systems used were not disclosed. The Navy, however, said the drones were launched from the vessel's flight deck and DSTL personnel observed the launch, payload operation and recovery operations conducted.

The Stiletto is a demonstration craft developed by the Defense Department to test littoral warfare concepts. It has an M-shaped hull design and is made from carbon fiber. It has maximum speed of 51 knots and is 88 feet long.

"The Stiletto capability demonstration offered a unique opportunity to take a potent government/industry brew of good ideas, practical options and hard work, turning the mix into a genuine capability demonstration for the allied warfighter, which in turn shows how to solve existing and future operational problems," said Paul Mather, DTSL surveillance capability leader. "The UK has no equivalent facility, and we are grateful for the support of our U.S. colleagues on the Stiletto team in making this recent capability demonstration a reality."

DSTL supplies science and technology services to Britain's Ministry of Defense.

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