The Royal Navy is holding its first ‘robot wars’, inviting firms at the cutting-edge of science to demonstrate unmanned aircraft, boats and submarines.
The head of the Navy – First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas – has challenged academics, scientists, technology firms, plus British and Allied military forces to show off hi-tech systems which could revolutionise naval warfare.
In October 2016 the most promising of those systems will be put to the test during a fortnight-long war game around Scotland, alongside regular Navy, Army and Air Forces.
The Navy has recently formed its first squadron for pilotless aircraft - 700X at Culdrose in Cornwall which operates ‘eye in the sky’ ScanEagle reconnaissance planes. It is also experimenting with remote-controlled mine hunters, and is buying four ‘wave gliders’ – underwater gliders which run for up to four months gathering data about the ocean.