The UK Royal Navy’s (RN) 700X Naval Air Squadron (NAS) has successfully developed the first remotely-piloted quadcopter system on their own.

This marks a new milestone for the RN’s drone squadron personnel based at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose near Helston, UK.

The 700X NAS is a test and expert unit that works on the experimentation, research, training and deployment of the remotely piloted air systems (RPAS) for the Navy.

RN lieutenant Kristian Lilley said: “This is the first time the navy has built its own air system using basic components. It is an important step in our recognition of endorsed manufacturer status with the Military Aviation Authority.”

The Culdrose-based team has named the new four-legged system as ‘Walrus’. This name has been derived from the flying boats that were developed by 700 NAS for use during the World War II.

Weighing approximately 20kgs, the RPAS are currently been placed in an empty aircraft hangar for undergoing a series of ground tests and assessments.

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Once all the tests are complete, the quadcopter will be used by the RN as a testbed for various sensors and payloads.

Lilley added: “Built to high, aviation standards, the Walrus will be used specifically as a testbed for sensors and other sensitive payloads. It will be our independent test and evaluation platform.

“We’re now testing it using a rigorous regime here in a controlled environment. When we’re confident it’s operating correctly and safely, we’ll conduct our first flying tests, probably in the new year.”

The UK Ministry of Defence is making investments in drone technology development, and the latest announcement supports the same objective.

Recently, MoD awarded a £129m contract to Lockheed Martin to provide 250 high-tech drones for British forces.