Drones, long associated with modern warfare and cutting-edge technology, just took a step into the future with the T-600. Named after the killer robots in the popular Terminator franchise, this new quadcopter drone recently showcased its ability to release a torpedo mid-flight. This impressive feat was demonstrated during the recent NATO training exercise.
“Successfully released an inert Sting Ray training variant anti-submarine torpedo during a flight mission at sea for the first time,” boasted the drone's manufacturer, BAE Systems, in a press release.
The T-600's Capabilities
With a payload capacity exceeding 400 pounds, the T-600 isn't just another small flying toy; it's “around the size of a small car,” BAE claims. Plus, it can be quickly taken apart for easy transportation. While the ability to deploy torpedoes might sound revolutionary, it's essential to understand that the world of drone warfare isn't as contemporary as many believe.
Drones in Warfare: A Quick History Lesson
The Pentagon has been experimenting with drones, specifically Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), for dropping torpedoes since the 1950s. Yes, drones have been with us for over half a century. It sounds exciting at first, as if BAE is revolutionizing warfare, but drones dropping torpedoes isn't novel. The real innovation of the T-600 lies in its electric power source.
During the tense beginnings of the Cold War, the U.S. raced to match the Soviet Union's rapid production of submarines. In response, they explored cost-effective methods to launch torpedoes designed to destroy these submarines. Enter the Gyrodyne QH-50 Drone Anti-Submarine Helicopter (DASH). Yes, they were already called drones back then.
Making its debut flight in 1959, the QH-50 DASH became an instrumental part of the U.S. Navy until 1997. These machines were powered by modified Porsche engines. Over its tenure, 758 of them were deployed on 165 ships, according to Vice. One even played a heroic role in the Vietnam war, aiding in a Marine's rescue. Early designs even considered equipping these drones with nuclear depth charges, a feature the T-600 lacks.
Today's NATO Experimentation
This drone's torpedo launch was part of the annual NATO training exercise, REPMUS, which stands for Robotic Experimentation and Prototyping with Maritime Uncrewed Systems. Initiated in 2019, REPMUS is a platform for NATO nations to gather, tinker, and flaunt their advanced drones. This year saw participation from 25 navies and over 30 companies.
While the T-600's recent achievement might seem like a leap into the future, it's a reminder of the rich history drones have had in warfare. As technology continues to evolve, the boundaries of what drones can accomplish will only expand. Yet, as always, it's crucial to remember and learn from the past as we soar into the future.
Get your Part 107 Certificate
Pass the test and take to the skies with the Pilot Institute. We have helped thousands of people become airplane and commercial drone pilots. Our courses are designed by industry experts to help you pass FAA tests and achieve your dreams.
Copyright © DroneXL.co 2023. All rights reserved. The content, images, and intellectual property on this website are protected by copyright law. Reproduction or distribution of any material without prior written permission from DroneXL.co is strictly prohibited. For permissions and inquiries, please contact us here.
FTC: DroneXL.co is an Amazon Associate and uses affiliate links that can generate income from qualifying purchases. We do not sell, share, rent out, or spam your email.