To defeat advanced anti-ship missiles, Royal Navy turns to AI

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HMS Dragon flanked by HMS Lancaster and HMS Argyll (nearest camera) (Royal Navy)

Posted on May 30, 2021 20:12 PM by

Royal Navy News

The Royal Navy uses artificial intelligence for the first time at sea to defeat missile attacks. State-of-the-art software is tested at sea against live missiles in the largest exercise of its kind off the coasts of Scotland and Norway.

Involving more than 3,000 military personnel, Exercise Formidable Shield tests the ability of NATO warships to detect, track and defeat incoming missiles, from weapons that fly over the sea at twice the speed of sound to ballistic missiles.

Three Royal Navy warships are participating in the exercise, which runs until early June: the destroyer HMS Dragon and two frigates, Lancaster and Argyll.

HMS Lancaster and Dragon are testing artificial intelligence and machine learning applications that provide a glimpse into the future of air defense at sea. Experts from the UK defense laboratory Dstl and industrial partners from Roke, CGI and BAE Systems use the exercise three weeks to test their “Startle” and “Sycoiea” systems.

Startle is designed to help alleviate the load on Sailors monitoring the “aerial image” in the operating room by providing real-time recommendations and alerts.

Sycoiea builds on this, effectively enabling operations room teams to identify incoming missiles and advise on the best weapon to deal with them faster than even the most experienced operator.

Although experiments with AI have already been carried out, this is the first time it has been tested against live missiles, said Lancaster Lieutenant Commander Adam Leveridge, Weapons Engineer Officer.

“Watching Startle and Sycoiea augment the real-time human fighter against a live supersonic missile threat was truly impressive – a glimpse into our highly autonomous future.

Alasdair Gilchrist, program director for Dstl, said it was “imperative” that Britain continue to invest in the combat systems installed on Royal Navy warships to ensure they respond to present and future challenges. “Being able to bring AI to ships is a huge achievement, and while we can prove that AI works in labs, it’s great to get our hands on Navy personnel,” a- he declared.

This article is courtesy of Royal Navy News and is reproduced here in abridged form. It can be found in its original form here.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.

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