BAE Systems has introduced a new technology, which will enable naval crews to perform high-speed reconnaissance and remote surveillance using unmanned boats. The new system will allow crews to carry out vital tasks such as high speed reconnaissance and remote surveillance while keeping sailors out of harm’s way. The modified boat is capable of operating autonomously for up to 12 hours at a time on either a pre-planned route or via remote control, reaching speeds in excess of 38 knots (44 miles per hour). The technology can be fitted to Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIB), which are already used extensively by the Royal Navy.
BAE Systems Product and Training Services director Les Gregory said:
"This technology delivers an extremely robust and fast-moving unmanned boat that is able to perform a number of surveillance and reconnaissance roles, even when operating at high-speed or in choppy water."
Underpinning the system’s ability to operate autonomously is its complex array of sensors, including a navigation radar, 360 degree panoramic infrared camera array and laser range finder which offer operators a detailed picture within a significant range of the vessel. The unmanned system and software algorithms controlling the boat were provided by Portchester-based unmanned and autonomous specialist, ASV. BAE Systems has been working closely with ASV to integrate the technology and prove the concept through the demonstrator. The next stage in its development is to create the sensor suite before ensuring a seamless integration with the combat management system on the parent ship.
Dan Hook, Managing Director for ASV said:“The algorithms we’re developing with BAE Systems allow the boat to perform complex missions and navigate through waters avoiding collisions. The technology is designed as a retrofit to the manned Pacific 24 RIB already deployed across Type 23 Frigates and Type 45 Destroyers. These boats will also go on to the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers once they enter service.”
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