UK seeks new technologies for future Royal Navy fleet

Hemanth Kumar and Talal Husseini 14 June 2019 (Last Updated June 14th, 2019 14:06)

The UK Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is set to launch a new competition to seek intelligent systems and technology solutions to develop a comprehensive future Royal Navy fleet.

UK seeks new technologies for future Royal Navy fleet
The UK DASA is set to launch a new competition to seek intelligent systems and technology solutions to develop a comprehensive future Royal Navy fleet. Credit: MOD/Nicky Wilson.

The UK Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) is set to launch a new competition to seek intelligent systems and technology solutions to develop a comprehensive future Royal Navy fleet.

Known as ‘Intelligent Ship – The Next Generation’, the competition will be officially launched in London on 19 June.

Through the competition, the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) is looking for proposals for novel and innovative projects to facilitate the wider use of intelligent systems within future warships.

The MOD said in the competition document: “This aim is based on a future vision where elements of automation, autonomy, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are closely integrated and teamed with human decision makers.

“It is expected that this will ensure timely, more informed and trusted decision-making and planning, within complex, cluttered, contested and congested operating and data environments.”

DASA will offer £1m in funding for innovative proposals under the first phase of the future Royal Navy fleet competition. An additional £3m will be made available to fund subsequent phases.

The adoption of advanced technologies is seen as a pivotal move in the efforts to reduce decision times in order to meet future threat capabilities.

Interested companies will have to showcase through their proposals how they would improve automation, autonomous functions, and AI-enabled decision aides.

“This aim is based on a future vision where elements of automation, autonomy, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are closely integrated and teamed with human decision makers.”

The scope also includes demonstrating how the proposals could improve speed and/or quality of decision-making and mission planning in a future naval operating environment.

The MOD clarified that it does not want proposals that do not “offer significant benefit to defence and security capability”, or “offer no real long-term prospect of integration into defence and security capabilities”, or “offer no real prospect of out-competing existing technological solutions”.

The MOD went on to say: “It is important that over the lifetime of DASA competitions, ideas are matured and accelerated towards appropriate end-users to enhance current or future capability.

“How long this takes will be dependent on the nature and starting point of the innovation. Early identification and appropriate engagement with end-users during the competition and subsequent phases are essential.”

Parties will have time until 23 July 2019 to pitch their ideas for the competition.