A team from the British Royal Navy’s 700X Naval Air Squadron (NAS) has received training on the Puma and Wasp unmanned aircraft system in the US.
The 700X NAS, based at RNAS Culdrose, Helston, was the first squadron of unmanned aircraft established in 2014 to oversee the development of remote-piloted flight systems.
The training in Huntsville, Alabama, involved both classroom and practical sessions and helped the aviators hone their skills in remotely piloted aviation.
Participants learnt how to operate the unmanned aircraft in a range of scenarios and will put their training into practice at the navy’s Predannack training airfield.
700X NAS commanding officer lieutenant commander Justin Matthews said: “Whilst learning the fundamentals of the Puma and Wasp air systems, we have developed an understanding of the tactical applications for both the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, which we will progress now that we have returned to the UK.”
The aviators were taught how to launch and recover the systems in both manual and autonomous modes.
The personnel then moved on to mission planning, where they learnt how to programme a mission set and control the aircraft using a laptop.
Justin Matthews added: “We hope to start flying out of Predannack airfield very soon. Once we gain more experience, then 700X NAS will progress to taking part in exercises in the UK for both maritime and land.”
The squadron received the first commercial-off-the-shelf mini UAS in July 2016.