May 6, 2016 - BAE Systems will play a key role in the Royal Navy’s upcoming Unmanned Warrior exercise, the largest event of its kind ever undertaken. BAE Systems will showcase its combat systems and unmanned boat technology, including its transportable command and control center technology, its high bandwidth, long-range tactical communication solution and its unmanned and optionally manned Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIBs).
Taking place this October off the coasts of Scotland and West Wales, Unmanned Warrior will demonstrate how the systems being showcased deliver situational awareness to the Royal Navy. BAE Systems is at the forefront of unmanned systems integration and its proven mission-critical capabilities, enhanced with new technology developed at its New Malden, Dorchester, Broad Oak, Frimley and Filton sites will be vital in coordinating this complex exercise which will inform the Royal Navy’s future capability planning.
Participants from industry, academia and defence will operate over 50 vehicles, sensors and systems during the exercise. BAE Systems' technologies will deliver end-to-end command and control of unmanned vehicles showing how they can integrate with existing maritime combat systems. This will provide a seamless flow of information from the sensors on the vehicles, through the hosting warship up the chain to higher command. It will also enable mission tasking from higher command to be passed down to the unmanned vehicles by the host ship.
BAE Systems has partnered with QinetiQ, Thales and SeeByte to deliver Maritime Autonomous Platform Exploitation (MAPLE), a transportable command and control center with the capability of integrating unmanned systems from multiple suppliers. MAPLE is an extension of the BAE Systems’ Combat Management System that is installed in all of the Royal Navy's major warships.
Unmanned Warrior will showcase BAE Systems’ MarTacNet technology developed in collaboration with Cloudnet IT Solutions, 6Harmonics, Fairspectrum and Strathclyde University, which uses part of the UHF spectrum made redundant by the digital TV switchover to provide high bandwidth, long-range tactical communications.
Unmanned Warrior will also feature BAE Systems' P950 Unmanned and its P24 Optionally Manned RIBs, both developed in collaboration with ASV Ltd. These new craft are capable of 47kts and 38kts respectively and provide unique ship-launched maneuverability and enhanced situational awareness to support the decision-making of its operators. The technology is designed to be fitted to existing RIBSs, such as those already used extensively by the Royal Navy, as an affordable, modular upgrade.
Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, said: “The growing scale of Unmanned Warrior is a clear demonstration of the Royal Navy’s ambition to lead and win through technological innovation. Unmanned maritime systems will change how we operate, but they’re just the start. Our pursuit of new technologies and ideas will ensure we remain one of the most capable and successful navies in the world.”
Frank Cotton, BAE Systems’ Head of Technology, Combat Systems, said: “Unmanned Warrior gives us the perfect opportunity to demonstrate how the command and control of unmanned vehicles can be integrated seamlessly into the existing shipborne and land-based infrastructures. The real challenge around the introduction of autonomy is how a mix of manned and unmanned systems is managed and I’m genuinely excited about demonstrating how the technology that we’ve been developing enables this to happen.”