This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)
The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) has displayed its latest jet-propelled, heavy-lift drone at the DSEI conference. Called the Hydra 400, it is compact and portable, can be transported on a regular pickup truck, and can be prepared for flight in six minutes. It signifies a new generation of heavy-lift drones using hybrid propulsion technology (rotors and jet engines).
According to Interesting Engineering, this drone is equipped with single-spool jet turbines that generate 500 Newtons of thrust, allowing it to lift 400kg.
General Sir Patrick Sanders, Army Chief of the General Staff, explains: “We are responding to the operating environment that we see in Ukraine. For example, I am struck by the fact that in the evolving Ukraine drone campaign, 40% of losses are attributed to pilot error. When the electromagnetic spectrum is so heavily contested, automation fails, and the [pilot’s skill] predominates. We need ‘war fighters’ – whether they are cyber specialists, drone pilots, or infantry soldiers – to be stronger, faster, more intelligent, and more resilient.
Hydra 400 is developed by Hydra Drones Limited and funded by the MoD and is intended to carry the “Brimstone” missile. MoD explains that this missile is a versatile weapon that can be used across multiple platforms, being compatible with helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, fast jets, land vehicles, naval platforms, and UAVs.
The “Brimstone” missile reportedly has a success rate of over 98% and has proven effective in defeating static, moving, and maneuvering targets, including main battle tanks and armored vehicles.
The Hydra drone will be tested with a dummy “Brimstone” payload during the next stage of the Army’s Warfighting Experiment (AWE)- a series of trials and experiments that takes place across the UK and overseas, with industry partners working to solve the complex challenges of urban warfare by utilizing advanced technology.