The Royal Navy Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll was successfully used as a platform for controlling an uncrewed rigid inflatable boat (RIB) during recent trials in the sea off Plymouth.
The RIB’s onboard cameras and sensors gave constant feeds to operators on Argyll, whose hangar has been configured to house a temporary operating centre.
The navy said the RIB’s control system was also integrated into the frigate’s operations room, meaning it could be controlled and commanded from the depths of the frigate. As well as operating the RIB from up to 16 kilometres away, the frigate was able to successfully send instructions to the smaller boat for it to carry out autonomously such as conducting basic missions, identifying targets on the water, and cueing its camera and remote weapon station to tracked targets when operated by the trials team.
The tests also showed how an uncrewed boat can enhance a crewed warship’s ability to conduct reconnaissance and counter potential threats.
The week-long tests were conducted by the navy with assistance from BAE Systems. For safety reasons, the RIB had sailors on board but was controlled remotely from Argyll throughout the trials.
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