Dstl and DASA research underpins Royal Navy maritime autonomy
Defence research organisations have played a key role in the funding and technical partnering of maritime autonomous systems (MAS).
The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) provides Ministry of Defence (MOD) with science and technology advice for current and future capabilities including generation after next research. Maritime autonomous systems (MAS) are likely to be a major component of the future fleet, operating in 3 domains at the front line and through to logistics and support. The research done now, and the investment into UK industry, will help prepare the Royal Navy and bring in more MAS capability.
MAS may be employed in anti-submarine warfare (ASW) to better defend UK waters and Royal Navy fleets from underwater threats. Dstl and the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) have been leading technical research to enable and understand MAS contribution to the anti-submarine warfare role through investment into: uncrewed underwater vehicles, towed arrays from uncrewed systems, navigation, sensing and concepts of operation.
To further investigate the concept and feasibility of underwater MAS, Dstl and DASA worked closely with the Royal Navy and Plymouth-based MSubs on the development of the eXtra Large Uncrewed Underwater Vehicle (XLUUV). Initially a crewed submersible (S201), it was converted to autonomous control and set up as a testbed for technologies.
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