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UK Royal Navy selects Animal Dynamics’ parafoil UAV for next phase of Heavy Lift Challenge


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<p class=”text-body text-muted small”>A developmental Stork test vehicle going through flight trials. (Animal Dynamics)</p>
<p>Oxford-based Animal Dynamics’ Stork STM parafoil unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has been selected by the UK Royal Navy (RN) to participate in the second phase of its Unmanned Aerial Systems Heavy Lift Challenge (UASHLC).</p>
<p>The Stork STM was selected following a pre-selection flying competition in late 2022, in which it demonstrated the ability to conduct beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) operations and carry a 135 kg payload over a distance of 400 km – meeting the RN’s requirements for both intra- and inter-theatre resupply tasks. </p>
<p>The UAV will now progress to the next round of flight trials, which will be carried out over seven days at Predannack Airfield in Cornwall, South West England, starting on 27 March.</p>
<p>As part of the UASHLC effort, the Stork STM will undergo marinisation, including integration of secure satellite communications (satcom) and fitting a sonobuoy dispenser. It will also undergo additional wing development work that includes a retraction capability to make it safe for deck operations, Animal Dynamics said.</p>
<p>The UASHLC is a joint effort between Defence Equipment and Support’s Future Capability Group and the RN’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer and 700X Naval Air Squadron to support and inform the development of maritime operating concepts and enable assessment, analysis, exploration, and evaluation of the use of UAVs for BVLOS payload delivery as well as broader UAV capabilities.</p>
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The UASHLC
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