Engineers from Lancashire have fired a torpedo from an electric drone as part of a Royal Navy exercise to look at technology which could make it the frontline of the future.

BAE Systems, which employs around 5,000 people in Samlesbury, worked alongside Malloy Aeronautics to fly the electric-powered T-600 aircraft at a NATO exercise in Portugal recently.

The drone which is about the size of a small car can travel at speeds of almost 90 miles per hour and can carry a payload of 200 kilograms.

During the trial it released an inert Sting Ray anti-submarine torpedo as part of the REPMUS (Robotic Experimentation and Prototyping with Maritime Uncrewed Systems) exercise, the first time it has happened during a flight mission at sea.

Neil Appleton, head of electric products at BAE Systems’ air sector, said: “In just two years since we launched our collaboration with Malloy, we’ve developed a heavy lift UAS and, working with the UK Royal Navy and Portuguese Navy, have taken part in the latest NATO REPMUS exercise.

"The demonstration showcased the capability of our T-600 technology demonstrator, carrying an inert Sting Ray torpedo in front of the world’s premier naval forces. It’s a fantastic achievement in our collaboration with Malloy and a sign of our joint ambitions to bring new capabilities to our customers."

The T-600 is a demonstrator aircraft designed to develop technologies which could be used on a new design heavy lift aircraft being developed jointly by BAE Systems and Malloy Aeronautics.

The T-650 is being developed with the potential to evacuate casualties and deliver logistics to military forces on the frontline.

Lancashire Telegraph:

It is one of a number of programmes being led by FalconWorks, a new business unit launched by BAE Systems designed to deliver a range of cutting-edge combat air capabilities to the UK and its allies.

FalconWorks employs around 500 people at BAE Systems' site in Samlesbury, where it is leading the development of a technology demonstrator for Tempest, the UK's future combat air system which expected to fly in the next four years.

Last year, BAE Systems invested £2billion in next-generation research and development across the company, of which £287m was self-funded, to develop competitive solutions to meet current and future customer needs.