British navy tested unmanned boat and other autonomy equipment off northern Norway

NavyX, a British special program aimed at develop new technology for maritime warfare, chose Arctic conditions when several of its new "James Bond style" craft were tested for the first time.
March 11, 2020

What the British navy said were “Groundbreaking trials in Norway” included a collection of unmanned equipment in operational settings and environment.

The unmanned boat “Mast 13”, a heavy lift drone, a remotely-piloted system and a unmanned sub-surface drone were all tested in what was described as “harsh conditions of the Arctic.”

Details about the exact location of the test happened is not revealed, more than stating it was “off the coast of northern Norway” and took place from the large amphibious transport and docking ship “HMS Albion”.

HMS Albion” is currently sailing back-and-forth in Solbergfjorden, according to the MarineTraffic. The waters are inside the island of Senja, a military strategical important area in northern Norway.

 

“HMS Albion” is currently sailing north of Harstad inside the Arctic Circle. Screenshot from MarineTraffic.com

 

Norway and allied forces’ big winter exercise Cold Response is currently underway in the same areas.

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This is the first time an unmanned surface vessel has been operated from the dock of “HMS Albion”, the Royal navy informs.

Colonel Chris Haw, commanding officer of the navy’s 47 Command, said: “We wanted to operationalize the technology, both in an operational environment and as part of a NATO deployment.”

 

The operators of the unmanned craft are sitting onboard “HMS Albion”. Photo: Royal Navy

 

“Integration of autonomy equipment is a key strand in the development of Future Commando Force and the Littoral Strake concept,” Colonel Haw said and explained why northern Norway was chosen.

“This series of trials has been ground-breaking.” It is at the leading edge of technology and integrating multiple system in the uniquely challenging physical environment that Norway presents, is a significant step forward.”

“This technology has the potential to be revolutionary within the naval service,” he added.

 

UAV makes ready for take-off. Photo: Royal Navy

 

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