Integrating autonomy in the Royal Navy

Integrating autonomy in the Royal Navy

The Royal Navy is a leading example of technological development, as the service has been injected a total of £75 million destined for innovative projects. One, allocated £45 million, is the hi-tech accelerator NavyX, a joint project between industry and the military to transform the procurement process of Maritime UxV.

Ahead of this year’s Disruptive Technology for Defence Transformation, once more chaired by General Sir Richard Barrons, Defence IQ had the opportunity to discuss with Colonel Dan Cheesman, Chief Technology Officer, Royal Navy, a key speaker of this year's event.

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In this exclusive interview, Colonel Cheesman answers the following questions:

  • The Unmanned Warrior, Commando Warrior and Information Warrior exercises all show the willingness and focus of the Royal Navy to operate unmanned systems, robotics and increase the efficiency of information-sharing. What have these exercises demonstrated in terms of integrating new technologies with existing systems in the Royal Navy?
  • What measures are you taking in order to block any attempts by potential adversaries to hijack or to hack into the app through its operators?
  • What main challenges need to be overcome in order to integrate a manned-unmanned autonomous capability for the Royal Navy?
  • £45 million has been injected in the creation of hi-tech accelerator NavyX. What is its ultimate goal? What are its near, mid and long term plans to achieve it?
  • How do you envision the collaboration between industry and military in order for the Royal Navy to harness cutting-edge equipment?


At this year’s Disruptive Technology for Defence Transformation, Colonel Dan Cheesman will deliver a presentation on the maritime autonomy accelerator and NavyX. You can find out more about his presentation here


Read a preview of the interview below:

Defence IQ: The Unmanned Warrior, Commando Warrior and Information Warrior exercises all show the willingness and focus of the Royal Navy to operate unmanned systems, robotics and increase the efficiency of information-sharing. What have these exercises demonstrated in terms of integrating new technologies with existing systems in the Royal Navy?

Colonel Cheesman: We have taken an approach that is relatively unique, and that is to look at the total system from the outset. The software backend, the networks and the autonomous vehicles are all being designed as a whole. We look at it with the point that unless they interface with the warfighter, unless they are easily adoptable into the frontline, then...



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