BAE System's robotic boat gets world-first Lloyd's certificate
BAE Systems Autonomous Pacific 24 (AP24) Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) has taken a major step from development to deployment, the robotic naval vessel being awarded Lloyd's Register Unmanned Marine Systems Certification for its design and construction.
Uncrewed vessels have come a long way from the relatively recent time when they were little more than lab bench curiosities. Today, they are starting work as security patrol boats, minesweepers, and submarine hunters, with many more roles to come.
However, for such robotic craft to become commonplace, they have to prove they are safe and capable of proper performance to recognized standards. This is where Lloyd's Register comes in. Founded in London in 1760, the famous Register is the gold standard of maritime safety, certifying that a vessel is seaworthy and capable of meeting local standards of countries where it might be flagged. The AP24 RIB is the first naval vessel to be certified to the Lloyd’s Register Unmanned Marine Systems code.
The AP24 has been under development by BAE Systems under a contract from the Royal Navy to convert BAE's staple 7.8-meter-long (25.6-ft) P24 RIB into an autonomous version for military applications as part of the NavyX autonomy and lethality accelerator program. Once deployed it will carry out force protection, anti-piracy, persistent intelligence gathering, and maritime security missions without needlessly endangering sailors.
“Our Unmanned Marine Systems Certification assesses unmanned vessels against a set of safety and operational performance requirements to provide assurance to certify the safe design, build, and maintenance,” said Paul James, Head of UK&I Naval at Lloyd’s Register. "BAE Systems’ Autonomous Pacific 24 has been tested against our assurance framework and we are pleased to provide BAE Systems the first Lloyd’s Register UMS Certification on an uncrewed naval vessel."
Source: BAE Systems