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216 Sqn to stand up in April as a swarm drone squadron

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Gary
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216 Sqn to stand up in April as a swarm drone squadron

Post by Gary » Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:37 pm

The UK Royal Air Force in April is set to stand up a new squadron to bring swarming drones into service and assess their capabilities.

The technology, originally announced by former Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, was due to be in service by the end of 2019; however, the capabilities will now be brought into service in April.

A RAF spokesperson told Air Force Technology: “The Royal Air Force’s ambitious swarming drones project continues to be developed by the Rapid Capabilities Office with the progress during recent trials exceeding expectations in a number of areas.

“216 Squadron will be reformed on 1 Apr 2020 in order to bring the capability into service and continue its development.”

Development of the project has so far been under the control of the RAF Rapid Capabilities Office, which supports the Tempest fighter project. However, RAF has so far been tight-lipped about the size and scope of the plans.

Announcing the project in February last year at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) Williamson said: “I have decided to use the Transformation Fund to develop swarm squadrons of network-enabled drones capable of confusing and overwhelming enemy air defences. We expect to see these ready to be deployed by the end of this year.”

At the time Janes reported that the drones would be used to locate and confuse anti-air infrastructure so conventional aircraft could destroy it.

The project has been funded through the £160m UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) Transformation Fund designed to deploy and deliver advanced projects for the armed forces. Announcing the project, Williamson said that it was designed to complement the “leading edge” technology of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The MOD previously gave more details on the programme saying that the drones would work alongside fighter aircraft like the F-35 and Eurofighter Typhoon to increase their lethality.

The MOD said: “The new £160m Transformation Fund will also develop swarm squadrons of network-enabled drones capable of confusing and overwhelming enemy air defences.

“By working with our F35 and Typhoon combat aircraft, these swarms will allow our pilots to deliver precise, lethal combat power more effectively and safely.”

At last year’s Air and Space Conference, then Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier repeated the ambitious timeframe and commented on the programme, saying: “The RAF Rapid Capabilities Office is a world-leader in delivering projects, from Tempest to counter-UAS, such as our plans for swarming drones. For our swarming drones programme, if we had set about this three years ago in a traditional acquisition route we would not be where we are today.

“The team were set the most challenging objectives and I am confident enough to say the results, thus far, are looking pretty impressive. So much so that I can declare that we will shortly be forming an experimental squadron – Number 216 Squadron – to bring this capability quickly to the frontline.”

216 Squadron has operated in a number of capacities, beginning life as part of the Royal Naval Air Service in 1917. Later, 216 Squadron moved to a transport-focused role during WW2, a role it reprised during the Falklands War, operating a fleet of Lockheed Tristar 500 aircraft, before being disbanded in 2014.
https://www.airforce-technology.com/new ... ng-drones/

arch
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Re: 216 Sqn to stand up in April as a swarm drone squadron

Post by arch » Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:02 am

Doe's anyone know when there going through the loop !!!

Canberra TT.18
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Re: 216 Sqn to stand up in April as a swarm drone squadron

Post by Canberra TT.18 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:06 am

I hope the entire swarm will have squadron marking.....

Snoop 95
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Re: 216 Sqn to stand up in April as a swarm drone squadron

Post by Snoop 95 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:07 am

Based where?

Vulcanone
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Re: 216 Sqn to stand up in April as a swarm drone squadron

Post by Vulcanone » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:36 am

Dronesville

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big john
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Re: 216 Sqn to stand up in April as a swarm drone squadron

Post by big john » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:40 am

in a cupboard in a Portacabin,
rgds
BJ
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Nighthawke
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Re: 216 Sqn to stand up in April as a swarm drone squadron

Post by Nighthawke » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:46 am

Presumably they will carry buzz codes!

baz1
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Re: 216 Sqn to stand up in April as a swarm drone squadron

Post by baz1 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:03 am

if they are numbered and coded they will take some reading off when they are droning around

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big john
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Re: 216 Sqn to stand up in April as a swarm drone squadron

Post by big john » Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:51 am

It won't be on an airfield as its illegal to fly drones within an airfield Flight Restriction Zone.
If they fly in this country above 400 ft then a drotam will need to be issued with the location, full details are in the Air Navigation Order 2016.
So they'll be easy to find on the ground. If your desperate for numbers. :P
(drotam = Drone Notices to Airman.)
rgds
BJ
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Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

romeo bravo
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Re: 216 Sqn to stand up in April as a swarm drone squadron

Post by romeo bravo » Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:18 pm

big john wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:51 am
It won't be on an airfield as its illegal to fly drones within an airfield Flight Restriction Zone.
Not factually correct as RAF have 'flown' security drones around stations in the past and 700X operates out of RNAS Culdrose AFAIR

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TonyO
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Re: 216 Sqn to stand up in April as a swarm drone squadron

Post by TonyO » Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:20 pm

That story is incorrect, the squadron may stand up in April, but the drone swarm system won't be ready for sometime. Just had trials/demonstrations at Spadeadam in September/October time.

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Thunder
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Re: 216 Sqn to stand up in April as a swarm drone squadron

Post by Thunder » Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:05 pm

Seems like a waste of money to me, I just don’t understand the concept behind it all. Surely the money would be better off buying more F-35( the ‘A’ model) and NG Typhoons thus increasing the number of frontline Squadrons, along with better more capable stand off munitions.

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TonyO
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Re: 216 Sqn to stand up in April as a swarm drone squadron

Post by TonyO » Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:27 pm

Thunder wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:05 pm
Seems like a waste of money to me, I just don’t understand the concept behind it all. Surely the money would be better off buying more F-35( the ‘A’ model) and NG Typhoons thus increasing the number of frontline Squadrons, along with better more capable stand off munitions.
The idea is in its infancy, but the principle is use cheap drones en masse to confuse radars and ground-based air defenses. This project has cost less than £10 million, that's 1/10th the cost of an F-35. Stand-off munitions aren't cheap and they are vulnerable, if cheap drones can chip away and create a safe corridor for coalition aircraft then its a genius idea.

Vulcanone
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Re: 216 Sqn to stand up in April as a swarm drone squadron

Post by Vulcanone » Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:27 pm

Many alternatives abound....

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plmc135
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Re: 216 Sqn to stand up in April as a swarm drone squadron

Post by plmc135 » Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:52 am

Does that mean they will be based in a beehive :grr:

baz1
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Re: 216 Sqn to stand up in April as a swarm drone squadron

Post by baz1 » Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:41 am

surely if we use this new tactic other countries will follow suite, I presume we would first need to get them to were they may be used how does that work drop them out the back of a C17/130/A400 en mass and how I wonder would so many be controlled and how would RTB work or not??

EGVP
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Re: 216 Sqn to stand up in April as a swarm drone squadron

Post by EGVP » Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:09 am

You drop them from your fast jets, like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjUdVxJH6yI

baz1
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Re: 216 Sqn to stand up in April as a swarm drone squadron

Post by baz1 » Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:20 am

I see now Chris yet another American idea

Agent K
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Re: 216 Sqn to stand up in April as a swarm drone squadron

Post by Agent K » Thu Jan 16, 2020 11:49 am

baz1 wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:20 am
I see now Chris yet another American idea
I think you'll find that won't affect its ability to work this side of the pond..... or indeed elsewhere....

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wolfie138
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Re: 216 Sqn to stand up in April as a swarm drone squadron

Post by wolfie138 » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:00 pm

The problem w/ this is if they fly them close to the airports they'll be breaking the law :-D

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