The Royal Air Force (RAF) has demonstrated “enormous operational potential to confuse and overcome an adversary’s air defenses,” according to UK Military Chief of Staff Sir Mike Wigston.
Wingston based his evaluation on three years of testing, during which the RAF tested five distinct drones in 13 different tests, each with a different payload, platform, and control system.
In March, the RAF certified its current fleet of drones as “operationally useful” based on the testing. Wingston went on to say that the service is now working on “systems that can be operationalized much faster.”
The results of the RAF’s earlier combat drone campaign, the Mosquito, will be utilized to improve the existing drone swarms.
“The work has been challenging, but we have learnt and gained a huge amount from our Mosquito program around digital design and novel manufacturing techniques,” Wigston said at the Global Air & Space Chiefs’ Conference 2022 on July 14.
“From the twin, jet 3D-printed Pizookie, to commercially-available large drones fitted with unique payloads, to huge quadcopters,” he stated, the UK military is “exploring new models of capability delivery and expedited manufacture ‘when we need them’ rather than ‘in case we need them.”
According to the chief, the Rapid Capabilities Office will hold a series of industry competitions for uncrewed systems in the autumn to choose possible assets for faster and better frontline warfare.