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Coastal fishermen tested the Puma drone for the first time from a frigate

Coastal fishermen tested the Puma drone for the first time from a frigate

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UAV TESTING ON FRIGATT: KJK’s Puma drone in the helicopter hangar of KNM Fridtjof Nansen.

KNM FRIDTJOF NANSEN (Forsvarets forum): – Very good to use, but expensive to operate, says the chief engineer of the Puma drone.

– It is a new type of sensor compared to what we used before, which gives us more flexibility and range. This aircraft has a range of ten kilometers. We will test for the first time flying the Puma drone from a frigate, Platoon Commander Eric at Coast Guard Command (KJK) says in the Defense Forum.

Due to his role as a coastal fisherman, Eric can only be identified by his first name. But he agrees to be photographed. KJK aboard KNM Fridtjof Nansen with five men.

What do you hope to learn from the test?

– First of all, that the concept works, that it is possible to take off and land. It can help enhance the frigate’s sensing range. One can use the frigate as a platform of operations.

The frigate’s aft hall was intended as a maintenance hangar for the much-talked-about NH90 helicopter, but today it is probably primarily a training room. Treadmills, bicycles and other exercise equipment remind us that the NH90 is a thing of the past. The date is Wednesday 30 November. Today there will be a drone flight at sunrise, while the lights from Harstad can be seen in the distance.

The drone has a propeller at the front and is taken off from the helipad by a coastal fisherman throwing it with both hands. The landing on the deck seems to be successful, but it is not as elegant as the take-off: the wings, held in one element, fall off when the drone hits the roof.

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COAST HUNTER: Erik is a squad leader in Coast Hunter Command (KJK). He did not want to reveal his full name, but agreed to be photographed.

It can adapt to different scenarios

Has the high level of readiness in Norway had any impact on the way you work?

“You can see that the facts are becoming more important, that we are staying focused and doing the right things,” Eric responds diplomatically.

– Buying a drone from the USA on the brink of Norwegian regulations

He doesn’t want to say anything about the number of coastal fishermen in Norway, but says the most important specialty of coastal fishermen is that they can adapt to many different scenarios. He has been in KJK since 2011 and worked in the army before that. The morning before the drone was tested, coastal fishermen were picked up from the beach by Sjøbjørn’s versatile frigate boat. But they could also climb on the shooting side, because that’s something they practice a lot.

Coastal fishermen aim to be flexible, and to be a tool that can be used for many things. But obviously onboarding is part of what we do, Eric says.

– The most exciting thing I’ve been involved in is the deployment to Afghanistan.

– There is not much coast there, but have you used your skills?

– Yes, you need to be prepared for the fact that there will be a wide variety of operations that you may be asked to perform.

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– Do you have anti-drone skills? So the skills to deal with enemy drones?

– We know about drones.

He does not want to comment on questions about whether KJK has jamming technology.

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Live: On a laptop computer, coastal fishermen can view live images from the drone.  Here is the frigate KNM Fridtjof Nansen seen from above on the morning of November 30, 2022.

Live: Here coastal fishermen can watch live images from the drone. Here is the frigate KNM Fridtjof Nansen seen from above on the morning of November 30, 2022.

Unmanned aircraft of the future

Puma is manufactured by the American company AeroVironment, and its primary tasks are surveillance and intelligence.

KJK previously tested live video transmission of target data from a Puma drone to ground operators at a distance of two miles.

– But we’re also developing the ability to stream data to, say, a Skjold-class corvette 500 kilometers away, so it can launch its long-range missiles, said Coast Guard Commandant Command, Cmdr. Steen Richard Larsen We are men last year.

– KJK hasn’t decided what the drone of the future is called, or what it will do concretely, but we started with a drone, the RQ-20A Puma. This is because we will be running operations. Then we can already start with other systems so that we can adjust the hull, for example maintenance, as the Deputy Commander of the Coast Guard Command, Andreas Sund, said recently Harstad newspaper.

healthy He said well From being operators of stationary coastal fighters drifting upwind of rocks with Hellfire missiles, KJK must invest in UAV development.

– Puma is a very good shelving product to use. But you could have gotten a lot more for your money if you had bought drones the same way the Coast Guard has been using them lately. Then they can have lower operating costs, Norce chief engineer Niels Haheim Sayers tells Defense Forum. Norce is an acronym for Norwegian Research Institute.

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TAKE-OFF: Coastal fisherman dispatches puma from KNM Fridtjof Nansen November 30, 2022.

TAKE-OFF: Coastal fisherman dispatches puma from KNM Fridtjof Nansen November 30, 2022.

The challenge with drones in the armed forces today is their insistence on spending as much money as possible. They have organized themselves into a corner. The advantage of such small drones in military power is that they are easy to produce, Håheim-Saers says, but the components that get into wear and tear are expensive.

The Defense Forum asked the Defense Press Guard if they would like to respond to the quotes from Håheim-Saers, but they have not yet commented.

FRIGATT: KNM Fridtjof Nansen near Harstad.

FRIGATT: KNM Fridtjof Nansen in Harstad on November 30, 2022.

Coastal Fisherman Command (KJK)

A combat unit in the Navy as a department in the Navy. The KJK was created in 2001, in part as a replacement for the Coast Artillery. The department began operating in 2005 and is located in Trondinis in Harstad.

The task of the KJK is in particular to create an updated picture of the situation in the relevant areas along the coast, including the collection and analysis of information, in order, among other things, to be able to identify targets for bombing from other parts of the Norwegian Armed Forces. This falls under the military term ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance). Source: snl.no