New Royal Navy unmanned fast inshore attack craft
October 30, 2006 Last week saw the commissioning of two new boats into the UK’s Royal Navy in the form of two remotely controlled Fast Inshore Attack Craft for use during live firing training exercises. Comprising a rigid inflatable boat capable of moving at speed either independently, or while towing a target, the FIAC RT is operated remotely. This allows its operator to conduct manoeuvres safely and realistically whilst live firing training exercises are conducted with small calibre weapons at close proximity to the Naval platform 'under attack'. The design of the craft exploits the technology developed by QinetiQ engineers that helped the RN to clear a key strategic waterway of mines in Iraq during Operation TELIC - the first time the RN used unmanned surface vessels in an operational role.
QinetiQ's Group MD for Defence and Technology, Andrew Sleigh, said: "QinetiQ is often called upon to provide speedy technology solutions, but these are usually specific and for just one purpose. Once used, they are usually discarded and so it is very pleasing to see a system originally developed as an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) being adapted to provide another important function."
The FIAC RT (Fast Inshore Attack Craft Realistic Target) was accepted into service over two months early and will be deployed by Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) and integrated into the existing sea training programme for Royal Navy ships.