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Unmanned Capability demo in Portsmouth

7th July 2016 - 10:15 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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An unmanned systems demonstration called ‘Unmanned Capability’ has taken place in the Solent and Portsmouth harbour to show how the technology could support naval operations in future.

The event saw BAE Systems work in collaboration with QinetiQ, SeeByte, ASV, Cloudnet IT Solutions and Blue Bear to demonstrate the planning, tasking, control and monitoring abilities of unmanned systems technologies in the naval environment.

BAE Systems’ P950 unmanned Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB), developed in collaboration with ASV, took to the Solent whilst a ‘threat boat’ emerged from Langstone Harbour. The RIB was controlled at a command centre at BAE Systems’ Maritime Integration and Support Centre (MISC) 9km away. Live pictures of the evolving situation were sent to command, allowing the command team to identify the threat and use the unmanned RIB to intercept the ‘threat boat.’

BAE Systems’ combat management system acted as the information hub for each of the unmanned vehicles creating a picture to support decision-making. The system was adapted for unmanned operations through an intelligent software enabler developed in collaboration with QinetiQ and SeeByte, known as Maritime Autonomous Platform Exploitation (MAPLE). This transportable C2 centre is capable of integrating unmanned systems from multiple suppliers, minimising the number of screens and controls needed to conduct missions and increasing efficiency. 

The demonstration also used MarTacNet technology, an intelligent maritime communications network that enables the type of high-speed communication essential for multiple vehicles from a range of suppliers to communicate in unmanned operations.  

Richard Williams, combat systems director, BAE Systems, said: ‘This is an exciting time for our company. Through successful collaboration, we have effectively demonstrated this new technology taking an important step forward towards integrating novel unmanned systems into a warship’s combat system.’

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