Drones to Play Bigger Role in Combat

The Royal Marines tested an unmanned boat, two ground vehicles and air system in recent exercise.
Donna Fuscaldo

Unmanned drones are no longer reserved for the air alone. 

The UK Royal Marines were supported by an unmanned boat, ground vehicle and air system as part of a groundbreaking exercise into the use of drones in combat.  


First time three types of drones were tested in combat 

Alpha Company of 40 Commando and 1 Assualt Group Royal Marines took part in a recent exercise at Tregantle Beach in Cornwall, England. 

The marines advancing toward the beach were supported by the unmanned boat that cruised the coastline looking for enemies on land and sea. It deployed cameras and sensors to search the coastline.

Meanwhile, the unmanned air systems were searching from the skies. Two unmanned ground vehicles were providing fire support if called for.  The exercise was designed to test how the unmanned vehicles share data to provide commanders with actionable information. The information was also sent to a different command and control facility. 

Drones lead to the win 

The Royal Marines were victorious in raiding the beach, climbing the cliffs and taking out the enemies before returning to the beach. It marked the first time Royal Marines used drones for a tactical mission.  Teams behind the unmanned vehicles were at the beach to watch how the equipment performed with images and information fed to them. They were tasked with analyzing the data at the same time the marines had a tablet device on the ground. 

“This is very early steps in the capacity of the Future Commando Force and reinventing ourselves back to the original definition of what Commandos are," said Corporal Scott Shaw in a press release this past spring.  “It is about reinventing the force with new technology that’s available." 

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