The Royal Navy checks multicopters – Drones Information
The HMS Princes of Wales this week provided an impressive setting for the Future Maritime Aviation Force Accelerator Day, which brought together experts from the marine, MOD and industry to discuss the vision for drone operations.
The Navy is trying to develop and invest in the latest technology to bring new, world-leading devices to the front faster.
Brigadier Dan Cheesman, chief technology officer of the Royal Navy, hosted the event along with Commodore Nick Walker, deputy director of Naval Aviation Future.
Brig Cheesman said the Future Maritime Aviation Force is also about seeing how the Royal Navy can build on and benefit from the pace of technological development in the commercial sector.
“The goal is to quickly move from what we have now to what we want in the future.
“We live in an exponential world of technological change. If we can integrate the latest and put it into operation, it will bring a battle-winning advantage. Bringing this technology to ships like the HMS Prince of Wales in particular would be a cornerstone.
“We work with companies like today’s to understand how they can help us move faster.”
Brig Cheesman added that the Royal Navy’s goal should be to provide these new features in weeks and months, not years and decades, as is currently accepted.
The work of the Royal Navy’s digital acceleration laboratory NELSON supports this idea. They continued the development of the MAPLE “Plug-in and Play” system, which, when integrated into Royal Navy ships, simplifies and uses the autonomous and unoccupied technologies.
In trials earlier this year in Norway, this system was used at HMS Albion and last year at HMS Argyll. In the future, all Royal Navy ships will have fully networked, organic, crew-free, open-architecture aviation systems, with Prince of Wales leading a series of experiments.
As previously announced by First Sea Lord Admiral Tony Radakin, the aircraft carrier will be used as a test environment for non-crewed aircraft.
Commodore Nick Walker, deputy director of Navy Aviation, supported the importance of the speed of adoption of new technologies. On board the HMS Prince of Wales, he said: “When drones and other equipment are routinely used on ships, we really start to understand what they can do and get an idea of what we can achieve.”
“We have to do it safely, in the right way and coherently, but I want to see the type of kit that will be issued in the front area today within the year.”