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T-600 is a heavy lift Uncrewed Air System (UAS) developed by BAE Systems and Malloy Aeronautics that was used to carry and deploy an anti-submarine torpedo during a NATO exercise, making history.
This electric-powered aircraft looks like a quadcopter drone and is the size of a compact car, was designed for demonstration purposes and can be easily disassembled for transport. According to Interesting Engineering, it has a payload capacity of 200 kg, a top speed of 140 kph, and a range of up to 80 km.
The dropped weapon was a “Sting Ray” training variant anti-submarine torpedo was dropped, which marks the first time a drone had deployed such a weapon as part of a sea mission.
Head of Underwater Weapons at BAE Systems Maritime Services Dave Quick states: “Our development of Sting Ray Mod 2 is focused not only on weapon effectiveness once deployed but also on increasing [how] Sting Ray can be deployed. As part of this, we are extending the breadth of platform interfaces supported and are maturing new torpedo deployment mechanisms, including drones, to explore the operational benefits to Anti-Submarine Warfare and or Anti-Torpedo defense.”
BAE Systems reportedly plans to use the T-600 as the foundation for the T-650, a heavy-lift UAS that is entirely electric and can be quickly reconfigured for military, commercial, and humanitarian customers.
Quick added that UASs can be quick to launch and easy to carry, and that they represent another opportunity to keep higher-cost assets and crew out of harm’s way. He stated that they will have an increasing ASW (anti-submarine warfare) role alongside crewed helicopters and dedicated ASW surface vessels.