Unmanned Warrior discussions underway

Representatives from more than 40 research and defence companies met to discuss how unmanned systems can be used on the battlefield of tomorrow.

The Royal Navy is staging its first ‘robot wars’ next autumn to give companies the chance to demonstrate their latest technology in a realistic work-out during Exercise Joint Warrior 16/2 off Scotland.

Unmanned Warrior will provide an international showcase for industry as firms demonstrate what their autonomous systems can do for naval warfare.

The delegates, who attended a three-day planning conference at QinetiQ in Gosport, included representatives from NATO’s Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation, who will be sending their research vessel Alliance to the exercise.

The unmanned systems to be demonstrated include those which can be used in surveys, anti-submarine warfare, ISTAR and minehunting.

First Sea Lord is an instinctive innovator and exploiter of modern technology

Fleet Commander Vice-Admiral Sir Philip Jones

Fleet robotics officer Commander Peter Pipkin said: “Next year is going to see the first of its kind demonstration in Unmanned Warrior, a unique and innovative challenge to deliver the Royal Navy’s vision for autonomous systems.”

Unmanned Warrior is the brainchild of First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas, whose forward-thinking was praised in a closing speech at the conference by Fleet Commander Vice-Admiral Sir Philip Jones.

“First Sea Lord is an instinctive innovator and exploiter of modern technology,” he said. “We’re up for new ideas, new concepts and new technology.

“In our view the unique selling point of Unmanned Warrior is its ability to provide a playground, if you like, in which we can simultaneously demonstrate unmanned systems and do so across a range of warfare disciplines.

“We see for you a clear opportunity to shape the future of not just the Royal Navy but a raft of our partners.”