Concept imagery shows autonomous, hypersonic Royal Navy strike drones launching from a floating base in the stratosphere.
Is it feasible? Probably not, no but engineers have taken a look at how the Royal Navy could embrace autonomous technology.
Led by a design challenge for young engineers from UK Naval Engineering Science and Technology (UKNEST), the Royal Navy say it will develop a ‘Future Autonomous Fleet programme’ that could shape how it operates over the next 50 years.
“Stemming from the design challenge, the future vision envisages drones based in the stratosphere to be launched at a moment’s notice; uncrewed fast attack crafts housing smaller autonomous boats; aircraft carriers propelled by both sea-based biofuels and wind power; and an underwater flagship at the centre of the fleet.
Other conceptual ideas include the increased use of artificial intelligence to assist with low-level planning and underwater transport units carrying anything from munitions to food.”
Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Nick Hine said:
“In a future scenario if we find ourselves unable to compete traditionally in terms of mass, we must think differently if we are to regain operational advantage. The young engineers who worked on this project are thinking radically and with real imagination and reflects how the Royal Navy is thinking too.”