A new 5m AutoNaut Unmanned Surface Vessel (USV) bristling with state of the art sensors successfully tracked a submarine target autonomous underwater vehicle during the Royal Navy’s Unmanned Warrior 2016 demonstrations off the Hebrides in October.  H-Scientific Ltd. (HSL) provided the electronics systems for vessel control, power management and communications.

Commander Peter Pipkin, Fleet Robotics Officer for UW16, comments: “I would like to congratulate all of you that made UW16 the resounding success that it was.  Your support and commitment enabled us to deliver the largest, most diverse demonstration of its kind and you have made it possible for us to maximise the opportunities throughout and ultimately to exceed all expectations.”

The AutoNaut detected and transmitted a range of useful information to the operational commanders, some of it in real-time, for dissemination into the wider operational picture. Data was obtained by leading defence technology sensors in collaboration with other UK companies:

  • H-Scientific Ltd – Navigation electronics, power management and communications
  • Seiche – Digital Thin Line Array for acoustic monitoring of sub-sea targets.
  • Teledyne Defence – Phobos Radar Threat Warner for detection of electronic signatures.
  • AutoNaut Ltd – 360° still and video camera for live images of surface threats
  • QinetiQ – 5GHz WiFi communications system for real-time data transmission
  • Xylem Analytics UK – YSI EXO2 Sonde for a range of oceanographic data
  • Gill Windsonic – for meteorological data

Recently released data showed the successful application of these sensors by the unique AutoNaut platform. David Maclean, Director at AutoNaut Ltd said: “The Unmanned Warrior exercise was a great opportunity for us to demonstrate our capabilities to NATO Navies in a simulated operational environment; we deployed our state of the art sensor payloads to successfully track targets under and on the surface of the sea.” 

The Joint Warrior exercise, with which UW16 was integrated, involved a number of NATO navies in a range of themes over a two week period. AutoNaut ‘Islay’ was deployed off Stornoway as part of the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) theme which included operating with a submarine ‘target’ autonomous underwater vehicle.  Islay also collected valuable data for the ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) and GeoInt (geospatial intelligence) themes. Some 66,000 packets of data provided valuable information on meteorological and oceanographic conditions, including: conductivity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, crude oil and chlorophyll.

Dr. Henry Robinson, HSLs founder comments: “Working closely with the designers of the new 5m Autonaut boat allowed us to integrate the electronics package in the most efficient way. By supplying a complete system solution we were able to supply a reliable and robust navigational package. Both the communication and power management packages are increasingly important in the design of USV’s and we were happy to supply those also”

AutoNaut Islay – packed with H-Scientific Ltd navigation, power management and communication electronics

The Unmanned Warrior exercise is run by the Royal Navy and is an exciting opportunity for engineers and scientists to demonstrate state of the art technology. Unmanned Warrior is the biggest exercise of its kind and will explore the ideas that will help shape the future of Naval Warfare for decades to come.


The Unmanned Warrior exercise Logo. Image credit: Royal Navy