Military

Royal Navy takes delivery of new robotic Madfox boat

Royal Navy takes delivery of n...
Madfox has completed18 months of rigorous trials and testing
Madfox has completed18 months of rigorous trials and testing
View 4 Images
Madfox will operate from Type 26 and Type 31 frigates
1/4
Madfox will operate from Type 26 and Type 31 frigates
Madfox has completed18 months of rigorous trials and testing
2/4
Madfox has completed18 months of rigorous trials and testing
The Madfox autonomous boat has officially been handed over to the Royal Navy
3/4
The Madfox autonomous boat has officially been handed over to the Royal Navy
Madfox Autonomous Boat docked at HMNB Portsmouth
4/4
Madfox Autonomous Boat docked at HMNB Portsmouth
View gallery - 4 images

The Royal Navy has officially received a new autonomous vessel. The Maritime Demonstrator For Operational eXperimentation (Madfox) will go through a year of testing by the Royal Navy’s Autonomy and Lethality Accelerator, NavyX, before entering regular service.

The announcement comes on the heels of a major review by the Ministry of Defence, which will be the greatest shakeup in a generation of all branches of the British military services. The new strategy will see a serious expansion of the fleet and an emphasis in all branches on rapid reaction forces, cyberwarfare, expanded nuclear forces, and increased use of robotic and autonomous systems.

Madfox is based on the Mast-13 autonomous boat, which is the latest in L3Harris' MAST series of Uncrewed Surface Vessels (USV), which has undergone sea trials by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and the Navy for the past 18 months. This included being integrated with HMS Albion for Autonomous Advance Force 3.0, a joint operation with the Royal Norwegian Navy.

Madfox Autonomous Boat docked at HMNB Portsmouth
Madfox Autonomous Boat docked at HMNB Portsmouth

If it carries over the capabilities of the Mast-13, Madfox will be capable of both remote and autonomous operations, including the ability to navigate while following official traffic regulations. Using advanced sensors, the boat will be able to carry out reconnaissance missions, surveillance patrols, and in-harbor ship protection when it enters service, with deployment from the new Type 26 and Type 31 frigates currently under construction. In addition, there will be an inflatable version coming online.

"Later this year NavyX will also accept an autonomous Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) into the inventory," says Commander Antony Crabb, NavyX team leader. "This exciting work will help inform how systems are deployed, and employed, from future vessels of the Type 26 and Type 31 classes."

The video below shows Madfox undergoing trials in Portsmouth harbor.

Madfox

Source: Royal Navy

View gallery - 4 images
5 comments
CAVUMark
Great engineering but another missed opportunity for us to learn more while watching the video... dramatic music is for Hollywood.
dandandan
There's someone in that boat and they were not very good at hiding! Needs mirrored glass to fool the investors! ;)
KeithW
Dandandan. Yep. I can see the two crew members. No effort made to hide them perhaps to reassure folk of the idea of safety first ! If you'd ever sailed in the very busy (and in places very narrow) Portsmouth water (as I do regularly) you would understand why it would be madness not to have crew on board to take the helm in the event of a malfunction.
WB
autnonomous.. people are inside.. and that music is just a joke... come on guys if you want to be taken serious try bbetter...
Nelson Hyde Chick
It is so heartening to know we are finding more efficient ways to kill one another. When do we get SkyNet?