British Navy sailors conduct training and trial with Puma drone from HMS Tamar patrol vessel

According to a picture published on the NavyLookout Twitter account on January 6, 2020, British Navy operators from 700X Naval Air Squadron have conducted training and trials with Puma light UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) onboard HMS Tamar River-class offshore patrol vessel of the British Navy.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 British Navy sailor test Puma drone from HMS Tamar River-class offshore patrol vessel. (Picture source NavyLookout Twitter)

In October 2020, the lightweight Puma UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) has conducted its first operational testing on Albion’s autumn deployment to the Mediterranean as its operators from 700X Naval Air Squadron’s Phantom Flight, normally based at Culdrose in Cornwall. British Navy try to develop new tactics and work out how it, and other unmanned aerial systems can be used side-by-side with other British Navy vessels and equipment.

The Puma is a small, battery powered, American, hand-launched unmanned aircraft system produced by AeroVironment based in United States. The Puma AE can operate under extreme weather conditions including temperatures ranging from −20 to 120 °F (−29 to 49 °C), wind speeds up to 25 knots (29 mph; 46 km/h), and an inch of rain per hour. With a top speed of over 80 km/h it can keep up with and track fast inshore attack craft or small boats used by drug-runners to traffic illegal narcotics, providing high resolution images and video for intelligence purposes, and provide oversight of British Marines as they are carried out raids.

The Puma UAV can be launched from flight deck, or from the open decks of warship. It requires just three operators: a vehicle operator to control the camera in flight, a mission operator to pilot/navigate the Puma and a Flight Commander who integrates the drone with the ship and other aircraft in the area.

The 700 Naval Air Squadron is an experimental test squadron in the British Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm. The Squadron currently operates as 700X NAS and undertakes drone trials, and also acts as a parent unit for the various ship-based flights operating the Insitu Scan Eagle UAV. In November 2019, 700 NAS tested two new UAS, namely, the AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma and the AeroVironment Wasp III.

The HMS Tamar is a Batch 2 River-class offshore patrol vessel of the British Royal Navy. She can perform a variety of roles from intercepting drug-traffickers and smugglers to protecting UK territorial waters and providing humanitarian assistance in the wake of a disaster. She has also trained extensively to work with Royal Marines Commandos on board and search operations.

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