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Royal Navy: looking to expand the use of drones after setting challenge

(Picture: Royal Navy)

The Royal Navy is developing new approaches to acquire autonomous solutions to support operational activities – such as how to get supplies to the frontline of operations.

Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose hosted the inaugural Heavy Lift Challenge, calling on drone manufacturers to showcase crewless technology which could be adapted to carry supplies and cargo to ships and personnel.

The competition was a chance for the navy to test how it can quicken the procurement process and get off-the-shelf, readily-available tech into the hands of sailors and marines sooner.

The Royal Navy and Royal Marines have already put a range of drones through their paces, demonstrating ability to lift and deliver payloads in excess of 100kgs, including a drone system used to deliver post in trials by the Royal Mail.

The next stage is to see what equipment exists which could carry a heavier load of up to 300kg.

Organised by the Navy’s drone experts 700X Naval Air Squadron, Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) and the Office for the Chief Technology Officer RN, the competition saw two companies – Malloy Aeronautics and W Autonomous Systems – awarded £300,000 contracts to develop their remotely piloted air systems (RPAS) to lift beyond 200kg.

One of the drones taking part in the challenge proved its ability to deliver other supplies in trials earlier this year which saw the Royal Mail deliver post to the Isles of Scilly. 

At Predannack Airfield near Culdrose, they had to carry payloads in excess of 100kg – that’s more than two fully-loaded Royal Marines bergen backpacks – and pass tests for speed, endurance and accuracy of payload delivery.

Read the full article here: Royal Navy looks to expand use of drones after setting challenge (

Note to editor:

W Autonomous Systems is part of the Windracers Group. W Autonomous Systems utilises the Windracers unique platform to deliver defence logistics and resupply missions.

For more information, please get in touch: or visit Windracers website Windracers autonomous drones