Royal Navy tech team present cutting-edge solutions to challenges faced by female sailors

Topic: Equipment and TechTechnology Storyline: Technology and Equipment

Using artificial technology to help with exercise, wearing the correct base layers for work and the benefits of new body armour were some of the possible solutions presented to female sailors at an event to see how technology can improve their life in the Royal Navy.

The London Tech Bridge, a collaboration between the Royal Navy and US Navy to source technology in the UK, hosted the Royal Navy Servicewomen’s Network today for an engagement event as part of International Women’s Day.

Every month the London Tech Bridge invites various companies to discuss how their technologies might solve a particular challenge faced by the navy in what has become known as ‘Tea & Tech’.

With casual conversation and an informal atmosphere, it brings industry together with experts to generate a dialogue toward solving problems. 

The Royal Navy and its US counterparts invited serving female personnel to give their opinions on how technology can help them overcome challenges they face while serving, generate the problems they face, serve as the subject-matter experts and lead the Tea & Tech discussion.

Its aim was to encourage greater female engagement in the development of technology and highlight how the Royal Navy is driving forward with investment in novel solutions through engagement with small to medium enterprises all over the UK.

Personnel from all ranks and rates from across the Royal Navy attended the event including sailors from RNAS Culdrose, HMS Raleigh and HMS Excellent.

The relationship between the UK and USA was further reinforced with two American exchange officers present who serve with the Royal Navy in Navy Command.

The Naval Servicewomen’s Network had identified its greatest areas of concern centred on the challenges around health and fitness for women serving at sea.

Presentations from companies included the application of Artificial Intelligence and remote coaching to help with physical training, including during pregnancy, maternity leave, and recovery.

The team was also briefed by a researcher from University of Portsmouth regarding the wearing of the right bra for specific military tasks, the interaction of undergarments with other military equipment, and how this equipment performs in the most challenging environments.

Lastly, the group heard from a company which presented its revolutionary lightweight 3D-printed body armour that provides greater protection and is more flexible so fits the female figure significantly better than current equipment. What’s more, the body armour can be recycled into new body armour at the end of its operational life thus reducing the impact on the environment.

“The event was really empowering for those who attended,” said Petty Officer Naval Nurse Ellie Walls.

“It was great to come together as a Network and learn that this kind of thing exists and that innovation is inclusive.

“I liked how the discussion was about showing us and including us in the process and we all got a huge amount from it.”

The London Tech Bridge team routinely engage UK industry looking for new and novel technologies that might be used on both sides of the Atlantic with a view to bringing both navies closer as they seek a technological advantage over their competitors.

Looking ahead, the team will prioritise and share the technology presented at Tea & Tech based on the feedback and assessments of the Naval Servicewomen’s Network. 

It will connect high potential solutions with the delivery teams and organisations who could further develop and integrate the technologies.

Additionally, it will work to obtain additional research funding where appropriate, to ensure the most promising technologies continue to develop. 




I liked how the discussion was about showing us and including us in the process and we all got a huge amount from it

Petty Officer Naval Nurse Ellie Walls.