UK Drones Pathfinder Programme Announces New Pathfinder Led By The Maritime & Coastguard Agency

On 12th May, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced a ground-breaking new project to regularly and routinely use drones, to carry out critical, reactive search and rescue, and international counter pollution obligations. The new project, known as The MCA Drone Demonstration and Development Pathfinder, aims to explore and develop the safe use of drones Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) through demonstration of drones such as the Hermes 900 in all classes of airspace.

In order to deliver this project, the MCA will be working in partnership with Elbit Systems UK, Inzpire and Aviation Systems Group (ASG) and through close co-operation with the CAA. Flight trials will be conducted from West Wales Airport in the late Summer of 2020 of the Hermes 900 which are designed to demonstrate the safe use of drones in unsegregated airspace. The organisation seeks to demonstrate the use of the Hermes 900 and Skylark I-LEX drones in the agency’s life-saving work and will explore ways to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and safety of staff.

The MCA is investing £1m in the project and will combine its experience in managing aviation operations with its world leading expertise in search and rescue and counter pollution to direct the project.

UK Drones Pathfinder Programme

The project is in alignment with the UK Drones Pathfinder Programme, which is sponsored by the Department for Transport, and takes a phased approach to achieving routine use of drones within the UK, identifying and overcoming the technical, operational, and commercial barriers for bringing new BVLOS services to the UK. The DFT have confirmed that funding for the Pathfinder Programme will be extended to cover the 2020-21 period.

Transport Minister, Rachael Maclean MP comments:

“This ground-breaking project could mean that our fantastic search and rescue teams, who save lives 24 hours a day, seven days a week, can cover a wider search area, pick up more incidents and tend to these quickly and safely.

“Going beyond search and rescue, the project will also help teams to quickly spot and tackle pollution, protecting our valuable marine environment. This is an exciting project that is supported by our Drones Pathfinder Programme which we are pleased to be funding into 2020/21.”

For more information on the programme and Pathfinder projects please visit Government Drone Pathfinder.

Coverdrone’s Commercial Drone Insurance Policy

Coverdrone’s commercial drone insurance policies can cover both Emergency Services work and BVLOS flights. For more information in regards to this – please contact a member of our team.