Held off the Scottish and Welsh coasts in October 2016, and on ranges managed by QinetiQ on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD), Unmanned Warrior is the largest ever event of its type, with over 500 participants, observers and visitors.
The demonstrations, spanning six weeks, are in response to a call from First Sea Lord, Admiral George Zambellas, challenging technology firms, scientists, academics, and British and Allied military forces to show off hi-tech systems which could revolutionise naval warfare.
From inception to delivery, QinetiQ has been instrumental in making Unmanned Warrior happen. Contracted by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) under the Long Term Partnership Agreement (LTPA), QinetiQ has provided logistics and range management expertise to the Royal Navy to ensure a safe and successful event.
Under a £4.2m contract with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), QinetiQ is also leading an industry team comprising BAE Systems, Thales and Seebyte to provide the overall command and control system for Unmanned Warrior. The transportable system brings together unmanned vehicles from multiple suppliers, enabling operators to safely co-ordinate them in pursuit of a common mission. In total, three different control hubs will be in action, all networked together. One will be afloat on the ship Northern River, operating as a mobile operating base, and the others on range in the Hebrides and at Kyle of Lochalsh.
A further Dstl contract sees QinetiQ lead the UK component of a demonstration to achieve the world’s first multi-squad, multinational deployment of autonomous vehicles operating collaboratively in the air, on the water and under the surface. The contract is the fifth in a year for the QinetiQ Maritime Autonomy Centre (QMAC), established in 2013 to accelerate the UK’s adoption of autonomous systems by facilitating their design, development, testing and evaluation.
Before it has even officially begun, Unmanned Warrior has already been setting new records, with the UK’s largest ever mass deployment of ocean gliders, as part of the event’s geographical intelligence gathering theme. With more firsts to come over the next few weeks, follow QinetiQ on Twitter and LinkedIn for news as it happens.
Unmanned Warrior builds on the success of 2015’s At Sea Demonstration. Similarly hosted by QinetiQ on MOD ranges, the event saw the first launch of an object into space from UK soil and required 460,00km of airspace – an area almost the size of Spain – to be cleared of traffic.