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Old dog, new tricks: HMS Argyll conducts Pac24 trials

22nd October 2021 - 14:15 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London

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The uncrewed Pacific 24 RIB and Type 23 Duke-class frigate HMS Argyll. (Photo: MoD/ Crown Copyright.)

The RN’s oldest frigate has trialled some of the service’s latest technologies at sea.

In a first for the UK RN, its Type 23 Duke-class frigate HMS Argyll successfully controlled a BAE Systems uncrewed Pacific 24 (Pac24) rigid hull inflatable boat (RIB) while at sea.

During week-long tests, aided by the RN’s autonomy accelerator NavyX and BAE Systems, the frigate commanded the Pac24 from a temporary operations centre established in the ship’s hangar.

In another first, the RIB’s control system was directly integrated into the Ops Room of the Type 23 frigate.

Argyll sent instructions to the Pac24 for the vessel to autonomously carry out basic missions, including target identification and cueing the systems camera and remote weapons station to tracked targets when operated by the trials team.

NavyX trials lead Lt Cdr Rob Manson said: ‘This was a great first step in integrating fully autonomous vessels into Royal Navy warships.

‘What we managed to do with these trials was prove that systems such as those to control autonomous and uncrewed technology can be successfully introduced into our current Fleet.’

Manson added that operating the Pac24 at sea showed the vessels can potentially deploy with the RN’s existing frigates and destroyers.

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