Royal Navy drone in use over Portsmouth Harbour

The Royal Navy has been trialling an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on the Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond at Portsmouth Naval Base.
The Royal Navy has been trialling an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on the Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond at Portsmouth Naval Base.
The Russian destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov as seen from HMS Somerset in the Moray Firth

Royal Navy ship shadows a Russian destroyer

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The Royal Navy has found a new use for drones - not spying on the enemy, but checking our warships while they are being serviced.

The navy has been trialling an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on the Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond at Portsmouth Naval Base.

The drone uses high-definition stills and video to assess the state of the warship’s vast exterior.

The remote-controlled aircraft removes the need for costly scaffolding, cherry-pickers and ladders, meaning surveys can be carried out in hours rather than days, or even weeks, as they can reach inaccessible areas even while at sea.

Diamond’s commanding officer, Commander Marcus Hember, said: ‘I am delighted Diamond could assist in such an important trial.

‘The Royal Navy is an advanced high-tech service and the ability to reduce time and cost during these maintenance periods, as well as allowing ships to diagnose their own defects at sea, will enhance the operational capability and flexibility of the navy deployed worldwide.’