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World Defense Show 2024: BAE Systems to demonstrate USV system at Defense Services Asia

6th February 2024 - 11:17 GMT | by Damian Kemp in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


Nautomate has been designed to be platform agnostic but will be proven on P38 fast intercept boat. (Photo: BAE Systems)

Nautomate, an autonomous control system for uncrewed marine vehicles, can provide assured mission delivery in complex, congested and contested environments. The system will be demonstrated on a United Engineering Systems P38 boat at DSA in Malaysia in May 2024.

BAE Systems will demonstrate its Nautomate uncrewing control system onboard a United Engineering Systems P38 Aggressor fast interceptor boat at the Defence Services Asia (DSA) exhibition in Malaysia in May this year with the display taking place in Port Dickson.

The USV system has taken part in exercises before, notably at the Robotic Experimentation Prototyping Augmented by Maritime Unmanned Systems Exercise 2023 in September off the coast of Portugal, as well as with the UK Royal Navy.

Nautomate has been designed to operate with surface and sub-surface systems with different challenges in different environments, notably sub-surface systems requiring different C2 solutions, as opposed to cable or tether used with other underwater UVs.

The main subsystems of Nautomate are sensor and antennae, safety modules, core processor, sensor electronics and actuation.

In a broad sense payloads include remotely operated weapon systems, non-lethal vessel arrest systems, 360° panoramic and pan-tilt surveillance cameras, SIGINT units, thin-line acoustic towed arrays and acoustic hailing and warning systems.

BAE Systems’ Nautomate has been designed to be platform agnostic. (Image: BAE Systems)

Speaking to Shephard on 5 February at World Defense Show 2024 in Riyadh, BAE Systems Maritime Services business development manager Michael Blake said trials had gone well and a number of lessons had already been applied.

“The integration onto the P38 has gone really well,” Blake said. “What we have learned can apply to a variety of other vessels and we can add a range of payloads and effectors.”

Blake said the typical advantages of all UVs applied in this scenario was that they could take over dull, dirty and dangerous jobs while reducing demands on personnel who would previously had to performed manned roles and allow greater time on target or patrol.

“The demonstration we will have at DSA will be completely autonomous, not remote controlled, and the mission planned will be akin to an operational timescale and close to real-world scenario,” Blake said.

“The system at the moment is focused on vessel arrest systems, such as firing a long cable to disrupt a ship’s propeller or a net. The installation of a gun is under consideration but everything at the moment is more benign.”

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Damian Kemp


Damian Kemp

Damian Kemp has worked in the defence media for 25 years covering military aircraft, defence …

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