Drone carrier naval ships have been designed, but so far none appear to have been deployed. The UXV Combatant is a concept warship designed by BVT Surface Fleet (now BAE Systems Surface Ships), which was displayed at the Defence Security and Equipment International (DSEi) in 2007. If built it would be expected to displace approximately 8,000 tonnes and “launch, operate and recover large numbers of small unmanned vehicles for extended periods, the UXV plays the role of mother ship – a permanent base and control centre for the futuristic unmanned land, sea and air vehicles before, during and on completion of their missions”. If approved, it would be expected to enter service with the Royal Navy some time after 2020. It shares some common design features with the Type 45 destroyer, which will be beneficial both to the ease of production and cost.
UXV combatant concept design
Mockup graphic of drone carrier
Trend is to be able to add long duration and more capable air, surface and underwater drones that can be launched from any ship
The U.S. military wants to build a medium-sized drone that it can fly off Littoral Combat Ship 2 (LCS2)-class ships. Long endurance drones have caught the eye of naval leaders, and well, pretty much all military officials for their ability to collect intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). However, most of the drones that can stay in the air longest need an aircraft carrier or a land base to operate from.
While the LCS2 is certainly no zodiak, it’s still considerably smaller than a carrier. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) officials have put out a call for defense companies to submit designs for a drone that could carry 600 pounds worth of sensor equipment and fly between 600 to 900 nautical miles from its ship, according to an agency statement.
SOURCES- Defense tech, wikipedia
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