The British Royal Navy’s experimentation innovator, ‘NavyX’, has received a new autonomous vessel, called ‘Maritime Demonstrator For Operational eXperimentation (Madfox)’.

Madfox is named after defence technology firm L3Harris’ Mast-13 vessel.

Mast-13 vessel has been operated by Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) on UK Navy trials for the last 18 months.

NavyX is the Royal Navy’s ‘Autonomy and Lethality Accelerator’ designed to rapidly test and develop new and emerging technologies.

It will carry out work on uncrewed surface vessel (USV) in the next few months. It will study how these vessels can deliver across a wide range of army operations including surveillance and force protection’.

NavyX is currently working towards getting Madfox to sea and begin the vessel’s testing.

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NavyX team leader commander Antony Crabb said: “With Madfox now directly in the hands of NavyX, the team will be able to explore a multitude of issues such as safety, regulatory compliance, new missions, new payloads and the role that a USV can play in complex operations and within the future fleet.

“Later this year NavyX will also accept an autonomous Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) into the inventory. This exciting work will help inform how systems are deployed, and employed, from future vessels of the Type 26 and Type 31 classes.”

The investment in Madfox is part of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines’ commitment to expand their autonomous equipment use.

Last week, the Royal Navy’s first Merlin ‘Crowsnest’ helicopter entered service to prepare for the UK Carrier Strike Group mission.