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Unmanned MAST trialled in the Thames

7th September 2016 - 12:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


A USV maritime testbed in development for the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has undertaken trials in the Thames, the MoD announced on 5 September.

The Maritime Autonomy Surface Testbed (MAST), developed by ASV with funding from Dstl, is designed to explore autonomous capabilities and support non-lethal surveillance and reconnaissance roles.

The 32ft MAST will help the MoD to test and evolve tactics in the unmanned maritime sphere, including high speed autonomy and sense-and-avoid capabilities.  

Various levels of autonomy include basic remote control up to autonomous navigation. The vessel can operate autonomously in an unmanned mode, sensing other vessels in the immediate vicinity and avoiding them in a safe manner. The avoidance algorithms are designed to comply with internationally mandated collision regulations. When operating on a busy waterway, the vessel can be operated with a coxswain on board ready to take control. 

MAST is set to take part in Unmanned Warrior 2016 this autumn, off West Wales and NW Scotland and the Western Isles. This exercise will give the Royal Navy and industry partners the opportunity to demonstrate new technologes and explore concepts that will help shape the future of naval warfare. It is linked with the regular Joint Warrior fleet Exercise and aims to test systems in an operational environment. 

Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, said: ‘The growing scale of Unmanned Warrior is a clear demonstration of the Royal Navy’s ambition to lead and win through technological innovation. Unmanned maritime systems will change how we operate, but they’re just the start. Our pursuit of new technologies and ideas – from big data to 3D-printing – will ensure we remain one of the most capable and successful navies in the world.’

The Shephard News Team


The Shephard News Team

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