The advance of naval unmanned surface vehicle systems continues apace, as was well illustrated by the recent unveiling, at London’s biannual Defence and Security Equipment International exhibition, of the latest example of the type, namely the Maritime Autonomous Surface Testbed (MAST)-13.
Manufactured at the L3Harris Unmanned Maritime Systems (formerly ASV) in Portchester, UK, the 40-knot MAST-13 is a joint venture between L3Harris and the UK Government’s Defence and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).
The craft, which can be controlled from either a shore base, or a seagoing platform, features a fully autonomous control system, utilising advanced algorithms. It is currently engaged in an intensive DSTL test and trials programme.
Fitted with a comprehensive outfit of surveillance equipment, MAST-13 is optimised for continuous patrolling in order to detect underwater and surface threats, to high value targets, such as aircraft carriers, at anchor or in port.
Maritime security expert and columnist, Trevor Hollingsbee was a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, Senior Superintendent with the Hong Kong Marine Police, Assistant Secretary for Security in the British Hong Kong Government Security Branch, and Intelligence Analyst in the UK Ministry of Defence. As an independent defence and security analyst he has had some 1,500 articles on maritime security, and geopolitical topics, published in a range of international journals and newspapers. He is an Associate Fellow of the Nautical Institute, and a past Vice-Chairman of the Institute’s Hong Kong branch.