Expert says Navy will use drones
UNDERWATER drones are the "future" for the Royal Navy, according to a defence expert.
It comes as the Ministry of Defence announced it was seeking to develop the Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs), writes Rebecca Ricks.
The 'drones' – small remote-controlled submarines – could be used in anti-submarine warfare, counter piracy measures, anti-ship missile defence and mine countermeasures.
Lt Cdr Kevin Giles RN said in the report the UUVs would be used for "dirty" and "dangerous" operations.
Iain Ballantyne, Plymouth defence expert and editor of Warships International Fleet Review, said: "The future is definitely drones. In the Royal Navy they are already using drones in mine hunters.
"It increases the range of individual submarines but the Royal Navy is definitely too small even with unmanned drones."
Devonport-based submarines have been and are operating around the Gulf, East of Suez, and in the Strait of Hormuz – which Iran has threatened to close.
The UUVs would offer "support" to future submarine operations.
An MoD spokesperson said: "Exploring innovation in maritime defence is part of the work we do to exploit the latest technology and ensure the Royal Navy is best equipped to meet future requirements.
"We are considering options for how we can use unmanned systems to support the vast range of future Naval capabilities that include Type 45 Destroyers, Global Combat Ships, Astute Class submarines and the two Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers that together with Lightning II jets will provide world leading carrier strike from 2020."