700X Naval Air Squadron have reached two major milestones in recent weeks, say the Royal Navy.

The Royal Navy said in a release:

“700X Naval Air Squadron flew its Puma drone successfully in the harsh conditions of the Arctic Circle for the first time while back at their Culdrose base, instructors trained their 700th student. It has been a hectic few months for the squadron who have been testing and operating the latest technology.

It comes as the Royal Navy is embracing and investing in innovation to enhance future operations and show its commitment to being a leader in technological advancements. In the Norwegian wilderness, unmanned aerial vehicle Puma underwent environmental training in a series of flight trials.”

700X worked alongside Royal Marines from 29 Commando Royal Artillery, small boat specialists 47 Commando, 45 Commando and Royal Navy flagship HMS Albion. In each scenario, they wanted to see how Puma performed and reacted to below-freezing temperatures and icy landing sites.

“On the water, as part of unmanned trial Exercise Autonomous Advance Force (AAF), Puma was launched from a 539 Squadron LCVP (landing craft vehicle personnel) for the first time. Data and information from its flight was fed into HMS Albion using an artificial intelligence system – also a first for 700X and Puma. The squadron also worked alongside a fleet of Norwegian stealth corvettes, testing how Puma could work in amphibious operations.”

Lieutenant Commander Justin Matthews, commanding officer of 700X, was quoted as saying:

“This has proven to be a testing and challenging arena and has provided a great deal of information in the successful operation of Puma. 700X will be looking ahead to the next stages which will include flying from larger ships and follow-on work from AAF.”

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john melling

Lieutenant Commander Matthews added: “The Puma is just one air system. It can stay up for two-and-a-half hours and it has a really good camera.
“Will we use it the future? Well, it’s a starting point.

Hmm seems like there are few doubts…


Wish I could stay up for 2.5 hours. At my age, 2.5 minutes seems excessive!




Blue pill for 2.5 mins haha


With 700 trained operators I don’t think there is any doubt about the technology, but this particular drone is probably just for development purposes.

Geoffrey Simon Hicking

One day drones this size may be the primary striking arm for the navy and army. There’s a long, long way to go before that though.


I’ll be looking for the drones that the Prince of Wales is said to become a test bed for next year. Could we (and I’m dreaming at this point) get a STOVL version of the mid air refuelling drone that the USN have? We have the STOVL and stealth tech already.


This is only marginally smaller than the Scan Eagle we used to have (~30 cm length and wingspan), with similar payload and about 10% of the endurance. Why are we using it…? I’m pretty sure we could put a “really good camera” on a Scan Eagle…