Royal Navy and US Navy to work together to embrace ideas and new tech

The Royal Navy and United States Navy have begun a unique joint enterprise to embrace and accelerate ideas and technology as part of a new chapter in the historic relationship.

The London Tech Bridge was launched this week and will see the nations work closely together to create new opportunities and build a network of partnerships between the defence sector, academia and the tech industry.

The Tech Bridge’s initial focus in London will be crewless and autonomous technology, artificial intelligence, biotechnology and space.

It will be the central hub for sharing ideas and technology from both sides of the Atlantic, where they can be developed quickly and brought to the frontline using a network created with academia and businesses. 

The London Tech Bridge – named after the command platform on ships – will allow greater collaboration between the Royal Navy and US Navy and will act as a command post where innovation can be steered effectively.

The idea is already well established in America with the US Naval Agility Office (NavalX) having 15 locations it currently uses as Tech Bridges. One of the latest ones in London is its first overseas and was announced at last month’s Atlantic Future Forum, held on board HMS Queen Elizabeth at Portsmouth Naval Base.

The London Tech bridge will form a significant upgrade to the US/UK maritime partnership and will enhance the Royal Navy’s already significant investments in technology and innovation.

Second Sea Lord Vice-Admiral Nick Hine

Second Sea Lord Vice-Admiral Nick Hine was joined by US Assistant Secretary of the Navy James Geurts to launch the partnership in a virtual event.

Vice-Admiral Hine said: “The London Tech bridge will form a significant upgrade to the US/UK maritime partnership and will enhance the Royal Navy’s already significant investments in technology and innovation.

"Collaborative problem solving will allow us to advance from operating alongside our partners in an interoperable manner, to truly working with them in an interchangeable manner.”

Commander Alex Bingham, Royal Navy Co-Director, added: “Leveraging partnerships in industry and academia in novel ways, the London Tech Bridge will generate opportunities for dual-use solutions that can be rapidly scaled and marketed. 

“This effort will equally enhance innovation and collaboration in the private and public sectors in addition to facilitating development and fielding of new capability.  We are extremely excited to start building connections.”

Secretary Geurts said they hope the London Tech Bridge will attract diverse ideas.

"The Tech Bridge name denotes technology, but there's a huge human element to this," he said.

"One of the competitive advantages of a democratic society is its ability to bring people together in a collaboration, not coercive fashion. In fact, the more and diverse ideas, the better.

"We do not need you to be an expert in the US or Royal Navy. The kind of folks I'm hoping to excite, attract, and leverage are those with the curiosity to explore, te humility to learn, and the the boldness to act.

"There are certainly technology priority areas we have, but don't make that a limiter in bringing ideas to us."