Robots and autonomous mine-hunters are set to revolutionise Royal Navy operations after the Defence Secretary announced a £75m injection into pioneering new technology.
The funding boost will be spent on two new autonomous mine-hunter vessels with cutting-edge sonars to enable remote mine-hunting at higher range, speed and accuracy in the Gulf, as well as a new joint military and industry hi-tech accelerator, NavyX.
The Royal Navy’s new autonomy and lethality accelerator will look to overhaul the way the Royal Navy buys the latest technology, streamlining the process and creating a brand-new facility where industry, military and academia can test, assess and purchase new equipment.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Today’s announcement will not only allow the Royal Navy to rapidly harness dynamic, cutting-edge equipment at speed, but also ensure they can outpace adversaries both on the water and the sea floor. Technology is moving faster than ever, and with the defence landscape rapidly evolving, we must ensure our Armed Forces are continually pushing the boundaries at the forefront of this change.”
By operating autonomous mine-hunters, the Royal Navy will not only improve current capability and put sailors at less risk, but also ensure the Royal Navy can evolve to meet developing underwater threats.
Admiral Sir Philip Jones KCB ADC DL, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, said: “From the invention of the steam catapult and aircraft carrier, to the first use of sonars and torpedoes, the Royal Navy has a strong pedigree in the development, testing and introduction of new technologies that help us keep our country safe.
“Across the generations, our willingness to embrace innovation has kept us one step ahead of our adversaries, and to assure our continued success on operations into the future it is vital that the Royal Navy continues to be equipped with the latest cutting-edge capabilities we need to address the rapidly evolving challenges that pose a threat to our national interests around the globe.”