For the first time, Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) is being used by the Royal Navy at sea as part of Exercise Formidable Shield, which is currently taking place off the coast of Scotland.
This Operational Experiment (OpEx) on the Type 45 Destroyer (HMS Dragon) and Type 23 Frigate (HMS Lancaster), is using the A.I. applications, Startle and Sycoiea, which were tested against a supersonic missile threat.
As part of the Above Water Systems programme, led by Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) scientists, the A.I. improves the early detection of lethal threat, accelerates engagement timelines and provides Royal Navy Commanders with a rapid hazard assessment to select the optimum weapon or measure to counter and destroy the target.
As outlined in the recent Defence Command Paper, the MOD is committed to investing in A.I. and increased automation to transform capabilities as the Armed Forces adapt to meet future threats, which will be supported by the £24bn uplift in defence spending over the next four years.
HMS Lancaster and HMS Dragon are currently trialling the use of A.I. as part of a glimpse into the future of air defence at sea.
HMS Lancaster’s Weapon Engineer Officer, Lieutenant Commander Adam Leveridge said:
Observing Startle and Sycoiea augment the human warfighter in real time against a live supersonic missile threat was truly impressive – a glimpse into our highly-autonomous future.
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