London: The British Army has unveiled a jet-powered drone that fires laser-guided missiles and fits in the back of a Land Rover. The Hydra 400 concept can carry three devastating Brimstone missiles like those blitzing Russian tanks in Ukraine.
The weapon – pioneered by the Army’s experimental warfare team – will give troops “an Apache gunship in the boot of their car”, a defence source said. It only takes six minutes to launch and can hit tanks more than 20 miles away.
Hydra 400, the UK-made weapon is the centrepiece of the ongoing DSEI arms fair, which opened in London on September 12. It is powered by quadcopter rotors and six jet engines that boost its lift.
Later this year, it is due to be tested at a major military exercise but taking into account British red tape, sources warn that it could take up to five years before the Hydra 400 is cleared to fire Brimstones on UK ranges.
“We have been working on it since 2021,” said Major Matt McGarvey-Miles, head of Army experimentation.
“Hydra is a game-changer,” said Andy Allen, from missile-makers MBDA. “This is a cheap man’s Air Force.”