UK launches unmanned Pacific 24 boat
The UK RN has launched its first crewless boat for general duties.
Trials with the new craft begin this month, followed by integration trials later in the year with a frontline RN warship’s combat and navigation systems.
Results of these trials should determine whether the UK invests in a fleet of such craft or just a few for specific missions.
The unmanned Pacific 24 boat was developed by BAE Systems in partnership with NavyX – the specialist wing of the RN that brings together industry, the civil service and academia to boost innovation in autonomous technologies.
‘More than £3 million [$3.75 million] is being invested in the crewless Pacific 24 boat – and other autonomous small craft technology,’ BAE Systems announced in a 24 June statement.
The crewless boats could operate individually or in clusters at speeds of up to 38kt.
While the hull and propulsion system remain the same as crewed Pacific 24 boats, their control system and sensors have been modified to allow autonomous movement once a generic task has been assigned by a human.
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