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Royal Navy plays key role in unmanned war games

NaxyX have been working with NATO allies on an unmanned exercise in Portugal. Picture: L3Harris
24 September 2019
Royal Navy technology experts played a key role in NATO's biggest-ever unmanned technology war games.

NaxyX spent time in Portugal working with a dozen NATO allies to develop tactics and techniques so autonomous vessels can be deployed to their full potential on future operations. 

The Portuguese-led exercise, known as REPMUS, brought together allied nations who are part of NATO's unmanned systems initiative.

Led by the UK and United States, navies worked with industry specialists to put the brand new technology through its paces.

This is the first time NaxyX, the Royal Navy's experts in getting unmanned technology rapidly to the frontline, has worked with allies like this and it played an important role in the two-week exercise. 

This is the Royal Navy learning by doing, delivering in the real world and developing capability that will be ready for operations.

Commander Sean Trevethan

Commander Sean Trevethan, Fleet Robotics Officer for the navy, said: "REPMUS 2019 is the largest NATO maritime unmanned systems exercise ever staged.

"It was conceived in February and thanks to political impetus behind the initiative, and an awful lot of work by its members, the exercise has delivered ground breaking developments in the exploitation of unmanned systems.

"NaxyX has been at the heart of this exercise - delivering multiple unmanned surface vessels and the Command and Control Architecture known as MAPLE. Marworks provided the communications network with all the systems and assets which included a US navy destroyer and a Portuguese frigate.

"This is the Royal Navy learning by doing, delivering in the real world and developing capability that will be ready for operations."

The first week of the exercise saw the countries use airborne technology to conduct extended "line of sight" communications.

This allowed the Royal Navy's MAPLE team to co-ordinate command and control from a Portuguese operations centre to two UK unmanned boats.

These boats were thoroughly tested after being tasked to shield the US destroyer involved in REPMUS from "attacks" from small boats at ranges of up to 17km with aerial support from a US-operated drone.

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