QinetiQ is heading up the UK’s Defence Growth Partnership challenged by The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas to take the UK to the very spear tip of maritime autonomous systems within naval warfare. The DGP is dedicated to enabling UK industry to collaborate on the exploitation of unmanned boats, underwater vehicles and aircraft in the maritime domain.
The Defence Group Partnership facility was opened in November 2014, located at QinetiQ’s Portsdown Technology Park allowing for the organisation to bring together specialist teams including academics, scientists, engineers and naval experts. The very people The First Sea Lord has called out to meet the ‘game-changing’ applications maritime autonomous systems is expected to bring.
A maritime autonomous system ready for testing in QinetiQ’s Ocean Basin Europe’s largest hydrodynamic testing tank
QinetiQ and the DGP played host to The First Sea Lord in March when he visited the Centre for Maritime Intelligent Systems (CMIS) at the Portsdown facility.
The First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sir George Zambellas, said:
‘I am delighted to visit the CMIS. The Royal Navy is pursuing a powerful instinct to exploit maritime autonomous systems, and we have been working with the Defence Growth Partnership for over a year now, in support of the Prime Minister’s initiative to deliver an innovative, competitive and vibrant Defence sector. This Centre of Excellence will help to transform not just how we deliver maritime security, but also help invigorate the global market for this new, leading-edge and game-changing technology.’
The Royal Navy and British Government are so serious about autonomous technologies that innovations from QinetiQ, ASV Unmanned Marine Systems and Blue Bear, to name just three, are hoping to be a part of the Royal Navy’s presence at the 2016 Joint Warrior exercise off the coast of Scotland. The MAS will be used alongside warships, aircraft, marines and infantry. QinetiQ are already in the initial planning stages for next year’s demonstration at their Gosport facility.
SME’s are also hoping to take a share of the £9 billion market. Chichester based AutoNaut are developing drone to carry out entirely autonomous missions, utilising an innovative wave propulsion system that could see the crafts being deployed for months at a time.
The AutoNaut drone on trials with HMS Lancaster
This is certainly in line with the Navy’s vision of the future with The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas eager for drones replacing sailors doing ‘dull and dirty’ missions.
He went on to say: ‘The Royal Navy will lead and win through the innovative and robust exploitation of MAS. They open up a new world of possibilities.’
Funding from the Government and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership means there will be no shortage of innovation with QinetiQ very much out in front.
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