The UK Royal Navy has successfully launched the new Boeing-built, remotely piloted ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from the Type 23 Duke-class guided-missile frigate HMS Somerset, which is deployed in the Gulf.

Capable of being launched by a pneumatic catapult from Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels, the new UAV is unarmed and can be deployed only for real-time intelligence gathering and reconnaissance.

UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said the move marks the country’s first operation of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) on maritime tasks, heralding a new era of aviation and intelligence gathering. […]