The UXV Combatant was designed by BVT Surface Fleet and displayed at the Defence Security and Equipment International event in 2007, would it have been a good investment?

Designed to “launch, operate and recover large numbers of small unmanned vehicles for extended periods, the UXV plays the role of mother ship – a permanent base and control centre for the futuristic unmanned land, sea and air vehicles before, during and on completion of their missions“.

The UXV Combatant featured two flight decks for launching unmanned aerial vehicles, V/STOL aircraft, and helicopters; arrayed in a “V” shape.

The UXV would have packed enough heat to give all these assets cover. On the foredeck, missile batteries could house both surface-to-air and ship-to-ship missiles and cruise missiles. A large-calibre gun that fires six-inch munitions, 20 rounds at a time, provides incredible power for ship-to-ship fighting and for strafing a variety of targets onshore.

When plans for the UXV hit the web in 2007, some commentators sniped that the ship was destined to be the warship of a robot uprising. But that’s unlikely. As with today’s “drones” (remotely piloted air systems), most of the aircraft on the UXV would be controlled by remote human operators.

According to a press release at the time:

“Each flight deck is approximately 164 feet (50 m) in length. To launch aircraft, UXV Combatant could be expected to use the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System or a ski-jump.

UXV Combatant is also reported to be capable of launching unmanned underwater vehicles via a “moon pool”, and in addition, able to embark a large number of troops plus their equipment.

For naval gunfire support, UXV Combatant is equipped with a 155 mm cannon, able to fire bursts of 20 rounds in rapid succession.”

19 COMMENTS

  1. Clearly this would have been a good idea to have this type of ship, that could defend itself without the need to have a frigate as part of its defence. Plus with the current situation of decommissioning HMS Ocean soon. As this vessel would have had an LPD capability.

  2. I mentioned the UVX about a month or so ago in these forums and think the concept is worth revisiting but based on a Type 26 hull.

    Shame it will never get built though.

  3. Was Gerry Anderson the designer? Could very well be Thunderbird 6! Or add some flip out fans and it could fly, get Marvels Avengers on board.

    • It reminded me of Captain Scarlet’s Cloudbase (also Gerry Anderson so your point is well made). Probably more of a match for the Mysterons than a core T31.

  4. A while back, the press got all excited about a ‘new Chinese aircraft carrier’, but in reality, it was just a paper exercise in what ifs and had no more likelihood of being built than the UXV.

  5. It would be incredible for special operations. Hilcopters to insert in, unmanned drones for air support and the moon pool for aquatic operations. Even a main gun for artIlley support if the op is near the shore. Sadly a dream never to be realised. The UK is incredible with inventing these kind of things but then when money gets tight, things fall by the wayside and counties willing to pay take the lead. Something that inevitably comes back to bite us in the next war.

  6. Maybe get more the U(C)AVs programs on order/long term footing Tyranis follow-up, all Protectors on option, Mantis(?) etc before we look at/design/order 6+ 1bn+ ships for them to fly off.

    Hate to end up with a situation of a large flight deck and pretending we totally were only ever going to run it with one maybe two helicopters.

    Mistaking a slideshow full of lasers, rail guns and mind control for actual planning hasn’t done the services any favours for the last 20 years.

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