“Extremely successful event” … “world firsts” … “unprecedented” … “ground-breaking”. It’s safe to say that, judging from the string of superlatives, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) was pleased with Unmanned Warrior 16, last year’s demonstration of the potential for maritime autonomous systems to undertake military tasks. Unmanned Warrior took place off the west coast of Scotland as part of the Joint Warrior NATO naval training exercise which is hosted by the Royal Navy every autumn, and the post-event report for the activity has recently been published in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. But was the Unmanned Warrior demonstration really as innovative as the MoD would like to think it was? Read more
Although aerial drones have taken off a lot faster than their maritime and ground-based equivalent, there are some signs that the use of naval drones – especially underwater – is about to take a leap forward.
The US Navy has taken a particular interest in this area and this month, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that the Pentagon plans to spend $600 million over the next five years on the development of unmanned underwater systems. Read more