UAVs to patrol English Channel?

Farnborough Air Show » 2008
July 15, 2008, 10:09 AM

Represented by Farnborough Aerospace in Hall 4 Stand E13, the Warrior (Aero-Marine) Gull 36 UAV has commenced operating both in and over the English Channel under contract from Flight Refuelling of the Cobham Group. The four meter-span UAV is reported to have exhibited excellent water handing and flying qualities, confirming the accuracy of theoretical models compared to data extracted from the Gull’s data loggers.

This is the first formal work achieved by the new generation of stepless seaplane hulls developed by Warrior, the patented design reflecting a revolution in slender-hulled surface craft performance in the last 20 years. The improved performance enables Warrior’s seaplanes to handle waves twice as large as equivalent seaplanes.

Commenting on the current trials, company CEO James Labouchere noted, “Both the hull and configuration contribute to the Gull working effectively in common sea conditions. The wave-piercing ability enables useful taxi speeds for surface operations and the UAV can use wave profiles to its advantage for take-off.”

By combining boat functions with aircraft cruise performance, the Gull offers operators new opportunities by switching spontaneously between aerial and surface functions. Labouchere asserts that these attributes offer exceptional capabilities for sampling, persistent tracking and observation of surface and subsurface targets. They will also enable fast remote insertion/extraction of small secondary unmanned surface and underwater vessels. 

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