The Royal Navy is to begin flying operations of its latest drone off the coast of Cornwall – the jet-powered 400mph ‘Banshee.’

The launch of Banshee follows a period of extensive training this year, including trials in Scotland with defence company QinetiQ.

Now, 700X Naval Air Squadron will fly the Banshee Jet 80+ system from Predannack Airfield on the Lizard Peninsula. The airfield is already used for drone research and training, being safely away from the main airfield at RNAS Culdrose.

Falmouth Packet: Banshee drone during trials on HMS Prince of WalesBanshee drone during trials on HMS Prince of Wales (Image: Royal Navy)The flight will take place in the segregated airspace up to 30 miles south of Mount’s Bay and the Lizard.

Captain Stuart Irwin, the commanding officer of RNAS Culdrose, said: “Following a period of intensive training, we are now in a position to begin flying this new addition to our uncrewed air systems.

“The Banshee will be an unfamiliar aircraft in the skies south of the Lizard, although practically all the activity will take place out to sea. We will only be flying over the land as we exit from Predannack or when the drone returns at the end of its mission.

“Banshee is a significant step forward in terms of range and speed, and we have worked closely with QinetiQ to ensure all the appropriate safety measures are in place. We are now poised to embark on this new and exciting phase of development in the use of remotely piloted air systems.”

The drones will not be weaponised but will instead be used to develop the skills and regulations required to fly jet-powered drones.

Falmouth Packet: The crew behind the Royal Navy Banshee The crew behind the Royal Navy Banshee (Image: Royal Navy)The grey Banshee drones are ten by eight feet in size and can fly more than 400mph with a range of more than 60 miles. They are propelled into the air using a large 60-foot pneumatic launcher. Using a ground station, the controller can operate the aircraft in various modes and potentially access the onboard camera or other sensors.

Once the flight is complete, the Banshee cuts its engine and deploys a parachute to gently float to the ground.

Originally developed for use as targets to simulate incoming missiles, Banshee was first trialled by the navy on the aircraft carrier HMS Prince Of Wales in 202