Royal Navy’s state-of-the-art ‘robo boat’ hits the water

The UKs Maritime Autonomy Surface Testbed, an unmanned surface vessel, undergoing trials in the tidal Thames. Also in shot is the patrol vessel HMS Archer in front of Tower Bridge
The UKs Maritime Autonomy Surface Testbed, an unmanned surface vessel, undergoing trials in the tidal Thames. Also in shot is the patrol vessel HMS Archer in front of Tower Bridge
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AN UNMANNED robotic speedboat has been trialled by the Royal Navy in tests which could ‘revolutionise maritime warfare’.

The unarmed high-speed vessel, known as Maritime Autonomy Surface Testbed – or Mast – took to the River Thames in London yesterday for tests and is designed to carry out surveillance operations.

The boats can reach speeds of more than 70mph – just over 60 knots. The navy hopes Mast will help it leapfrog rival militaries, like China and Russia in operating unmanned naval boats. The 32ft-long vessel is being developed by Portchester-based ASV Ltd, under research funding from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory.

First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones said drone systems like Mast would change how the navy operates and would keep it as one of the ‘most capable and successful navies in the world’.