Type 23 Frigate HMS Argyll has successfully managed to control an uncrewed Pacific 24 rigid inflatable boat (RIB) while at sea, say the Royal Navy.
According to a news release:
“The week-long tests, held by the navy’s innovation experts NavyX and industry partners BAE Systems, saw the Type 23 frigate take command of the RIB while it zipped along the water. The boat’s onboard cameras and sensors gave constant feeds to Argyll, with a temporary operating centre set up in the ship’s hangar.
But in another first, the RIB’s control system was also integrated into the ship’s Ops Room meaning it could be controlled and commanded from the depths of the frigate.
As well as operating the Pac24 from up to 10 miles away, the ship was able to successfully send instructions to the boat for it to carry out autonomously such as conducting basic missions, identifying targets on the water and cueing its camera and remote weapon station to tracked targets when operated by the trials team.”
Lieutenant Commander Rob Manson, trials lead for NavyX, was quoted as saying:
“This was a great first step in integrating fully autonomous vessels into Royal Navy warships. What we managed to do with these trials was prove that systems such as those to control autonomous and uncrewed technology can be successfully introduced into our current Fleet. Operating with the Pac24 while at sea showed that in the future these vessels have the potential to deploy with current frigates and destroyers and be used for a range of operational tasks.”