The UK Royal Navy is hosting the world’s first large-scale demonstration of marine robotic systems, called Unmanned Warrior 16.

The exercise will see 40 industry partners and international allies, demonstrating autonomous systems for surveillance, intelligence-gathering and mine countermeasures.

More than 50 aerial, surface and underwater maritime autonomous systems (MAS) will be demonstrated at the event, held off the coast of west Scotland and west Wales.

"Unmanned maritime systems will change how we operate, but they’re just the start."

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “The sheer scale of this exercise demonstrates how our armed forces are leading in developing futuristic technologies to keep us safe at sea, or in the air. This is part of our new approach to harnessing innovation, backed by a rising defence budget, to ensure we keep ahead of our adversaries.”

The information gathered from this demonstration would be used to inform how future unmanned systems could help protect service men and women, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sir Philip Jones said: “Unmanned Warrior is a clear demonstration of the Royal Navy’s ambition to lead and win through technological innovation. Unmanned maritime systems will change how we operate, but they’re just the start.

“Our pursuit of new technologies and ideas, from big data to 3D-printing, will ensure we remain one of the most capable and successful navies in the world.”

The demonstration of autonomous systems forms a part of the new Defence Innovation Initiative and the £800m fund that supports the generation of ideas to benefit both defence and British businesses.

Image: Unmanned Warrior will see demonstration of marine robotic systems in the UK. Photo: © Crown copyright.