Military

Unmanned Warrior puts the future of marine warfare to the test

Watchkeeper is one of the autonomous systems participating in Unmanned Warrior
Watchkeeper is one of the autonomous systems participating in Unmanned Warrior
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A rotary wing unmanned air vehicle (UAV)
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A rotary wing unmanned air vehicle (UAV)
Members of the Royal Navy seen with the Iver unmanned underwater vehicle
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Members of the Royal Navy seen with the Iver unmanned underwater vehicle
Teams gather in Hell Bay IV
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Teams gather in Hell Bay IV
Petty Officer 2nd Class Tammy Helm from the Naval Oceanography Mine Warfare Center (NOMWC) reprograms an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV)
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Petty Officer 2nd Class Tammy Helm from the Naval Oceanography Mine Warfare Center (NOMWC) reprograms an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV)
Staff from the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division, prepare REMUS 100 unmanned underwater vehicles
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Staff from the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division, prepare REMUS 100 unmanned underwater vehicles
Royal Navy transports a REMUS 600 unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) to the operations area
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Royal Navy transports a REMUS 600 unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) to the operations area
The command operations module located at the British Underwater Test & Evaluation Centre (BUTEC)
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The command operations module located at the British Underwater Test & Evaluation Centre (BUTEC)
HERO is a small unmanned ISTAR helicopter from Leonardo for shipboard operations
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HERO is a small unmanned ISTAR helicopter from Leonardo for shipboard operations
An Autonomous Surface Vehicle from the USA automatically launches a sonar system to hunt mines
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An Autonomous Surface Vehicle from the USA automatically launches a sonar system to hunt mines
The Unmanned Warrior Team's€™ view as they arrive in Benbecula
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The Unmanned Warrior Team's€™ view as they arrive in Benbecula
A solar powered sensor platform
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A solar powered sensor platform
Schiebel's CAMCOPTER S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS)
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Schiebel's CAMCOPTER S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS)
Watchkeeper is one of the autonomous systems participating in Unmanned Warrior
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Watchkeeper is one of the autonomous systems participating in Unmanned Warrior
Preparing a UAV on the first day of Unmanned Warrior
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Preparing a UAV on the first day of Unmanned Warrior
Using a hair dryer to dry wings on a UAV
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Using a hair dryer to dry wings on a UAV
Watching the first day of Unmanned Warrior
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Watching the first day of Unmanned Warrior
Camcopter 100
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Camcopter 100
An unmanned surface vehicle operating in inland waters
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An unmanned surface vehicle operating in inland waters
Halcyon, a small Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) – just 12 metres long and 3.5 metres wide
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Halcyon, a small Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) – just 12 metres long and 3.5 metres wide
A hydrographic glider 
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A hydrographic glider 
Monitoring unmanned vehicles at a portable control center
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Monitoring unmanned vehicles at a portable control center
The Leonardo Solo 
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The Leonardo Solo 
A portable control center for Unmanned Warrior
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A portable control center for Unmanned Warrior
The Maritime Autonomous Surface Testbed
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The Maritime Autonomous Surface Testbed
The Royal Navy leaves Hell Bay IV with a REMUS 100 unmanned underwater vehicle
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The Royal Navy leaves Hell Bay IV with a REMUS 100 unmanned underwater vehicle
Members of the the Royal Navy team lower an Iver unmanned underwater vehicle into the water pier side
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Members of the the Royal Navy team lower an Iver unmanned underwater vehicle into the water pier side
The RN Mine Counter Measures fleet uses remote underwater systems already
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The RN Mine Counter Measures fleet uses remote underwater systems already
VIP tour of the BUTEC side of exercise Unmanned Warrior
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VIP tour of the BUTEC side of exercise Unmanned Warrior
The Atlas ARCIMIS on the Firth of Forth
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The Atlas ARCIMIS on the Firth of Forth
Atlas ARCIMIS minesweeper on the go
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Atlas ARCIMIS minesweeper on the go
Atlas ARCIMIS was one of the participants of Unmanned Warrior
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Atlas ARCIMIS was one of the participants of Unmanned Warrior
VIP briefing at the start of Unmanned Warrior
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VIP briefing at the start of Unmanned Warrior
Rear Admial Paul Bennett CB OBE gives a brief on unmanned warrior
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Rear Admial Paul Bennett CB OBE gives a brief on unmanned warrior
Two leading hands of the HM branch talk through tactics with Rear Admiral Paul Bennett ACNS(cap) CB OBE
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Two leading hands of the HM branch talk through tactics with Rear Admiral Paul Bennett ACNS(cap) CB OBE
Qinetiq have been one of the key players in making Unmanned Warrior happen
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Qinetiq have been one of the key players in making Unmanned Warrior happen
Unmanned Warrior tested autonomous systems in the sky, on the surface, and underwater
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Unmanned Warrior tested autonomous systems in the sky, on the surface, and underwater
The Remus underwater vehicle
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The Remus underwater vehicle
Remus being prepared for Unmanned Warrior
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Remus being prepared for Unmanned Warrior
The BAE Systems P950 Autonomous Rib at sea
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The BAE Systems P950 Autonomous Rib at sea
The Sandown Class Mine Hunter HMS Pembroke took part in the minehunting challenge
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The Sandown Class Mine Hunter HMS Pembroke took part in the minehunting challenge
The US Navy’s NRQ 21
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The US Navy’s NRQ 21
A UAV being recovered
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A UAV being recovered
A UAV in flight
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A UAV in flight
The Leonardo Solo in hangar
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The Leonardo Solo in hangar
The Tekever AR3 is one of the smaller Unmanned Air Systems which will be demonstrated in Scotland
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The Tekever AR3 is one of the smaller Unmanned Air Systems which will be demonstrated in Scotland
Surface support vessel for Unmanned Warrior
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Surface support vessel for Unmanned Warrior
An autonomous boat participating in Unmanned Warrior
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An autonomous boat participating in Unmanned Warrior
Watchkeeper was used to support transiting ships
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Watchkeeper was used to support transiting ships
Watchkeeper and a surface support vessel
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Watchkeeper and a surface support vessel
The British Army Watchkeeper will be looking out for ships on passage through the Irish Sea
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The British Army Watchkeeper will be looking out for ships on passage through the Irish Sea
Atlas ARCIMIS minesweeper at the dock
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Atlas ARCIMIS minesweeper at the dock
A hydrographic swimmer
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A hydrographic swimmer

What will the Royal Navy look like in 2036? This month's Unmanned Warrior 2016 exercise taking place off the West Coast of Scotland might provide some of the answers. The Navy's first ever large scale demonstration of marine robotic systems not only showcases new technology, but tests the ability of unmanned vehicles to work with one another as well as with conventional naval ships.

The brainchild of then First Sea Lord Admiral Zambellas in 2014, Unmanned Warrior is part of Joint Warrior – a tri-service exercise involving forces from Britain, NATO and allied nations. Including 5,700 personnel, 31 warships, and almost 70 aircraft, it's a major international effort to develop tactics and skills to deal with conflicts in the air, on the surface, underwater, and in amphibious operations.

Unmanned Warrior assesses the rapidly emerging autonomous and remote controlled technologies that could play a major part in wars of the future. With operations spread over the West Coast of Scotland and West Wales, Unmanned Warrior is playing host to over 50 aerial, surface and underwater Maritime Autonomous Systems (MAS) as they explore the areas of surveillance, intelligence-gathering, and mine countermeasures.

An Autonomous Surface Vehicle from the USA automatically launches a sonar system to hunt mines
An Autonomous Surface Vehicle from the USA automatically launches a sonar system to hunt mines

Unmanned Warrior is operating in four ranges: The Hebrides around Benbecula in the Western Isles and Stoneway to the north, the British Underwater Test and Evaluation Centre (BUTEC) at the Kyle of Lochalsh by Skye, and Applecross, where dummy minefields have been laid down.

The machines used in the exercise are a remarkable spectrum of aircraft, surface vessels, and underwater craft. The star of the show is the British Army's Watchkeeper Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) operated by the Royal Artillery 47th Regiment, which is not only part of the tests, but also provides support for ships heading for Joint Warrior.

Schiebel's CAMCOPTER S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS)
Schiebel's CAMCOPTER S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS)

Other aircraft include the hand-launchable Black Star winged drone, the Schiebel Camcopter S100 mini helicopter, the US Navy's NRQ 21 fixed wing UAV, the twin engined Sea Hunter, self-landing unmanned aerial vehicles, the Boeing ScanEagle with a new visual detection and ranging system, and the pilot-optional Leonardo Solo helicopter.

One craft of particular interest is the Blue Bear Blackstart fixed wing UAV, which is being used as a communications link to mission control in the Command and Control centers. The latter are mostly a collection of undistinguished white ISO containers built for portability, but they can handle data feeds from 40 different systems at once.

One of these centers is aboard the support ship MV Northern River, which did double duty as the target of a "pirate attack." Watchkeeper helped foil this mock attack before going on to catch a "smuggler" by following him as he drove off after collecting stolen goods from an accomplice on the beach.

The BAE Systems P950 Autonomous Rib at sea
The BAE Systems P950 Autonomous Rib at sea

In addition to the flying drones, Unmanned Warrior also hosts a fleet of robotic surface boats and submersibles. There's the Pacific 950, a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) equipped with a remote control kit, thermal imaging and all-around vision, so it can act as a watchdog for ships at anchor or making slow passages through harbors. Then there's the Maritime Autonomy Surface Testbed (MAST) for evaluating new robotic technologies, and the Hydrographic Survey, which is using Sea Gliders and Wave Gliders to study the sea bottom and monitor salinity, temperature, and how these change with depth.

For the minehunting challenge, actual Royal Navy minehunter ships were used as they tested the Remus 100 and Remus 600 robotic submersibles with advanced sonar for seeking out dummy mines. In addition, the Remus are designed to be lightweight and easily customizable, so they can be quickly adapted to different tasks. In addition, the challenge tested unmanned surface minesweepers, such as the Atlas ARCIMIS.

Unmanned Warrior tested autonomous systems in the sky, on the surface, and underwater
Unmanned Warrior tested autonomous systems in the sky, on the surface, and underwater

"The technologies demonstrated in Unmanned Warrior have the potential to fundamentally change the future of Royal Navy operations just as the advent of steam propulsion or submarines did," says Royal Navy Fleet Robotics Officer Commander Peter Pipkin. "This is a chance to take a great leap forward in Maritime Systems – not to take people out of the loop, but to enhance everything they do, extending our reach and efficiency using intelligent robotics at sea."

Unmanned Warrior and Joint Warrior run until October 20.

The Royal Navy video below discusses the importance of the event.

Source: Royal Navy

The importance of Unmanned Warrior

1 comment
Dan Lewis
Well that's not troubling at all....27 seconds to tell us that you're arming dirty dishonest corporations. I dearly hope all your attempts bring forth stunningly massive failure. Wake up and start helping humankind, instead of murdering it. Want to really help? Design machines that kill dirty corporations.
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