In attempts to deal with lethal threats using supersonic missiles, the Royal Navy has taken to using artificial intelligence (AI). This marks the first time the Royal Navy has ventured into using AI for use at sea.
According to the Evening Standard, the initial trial period is done under the Exercise Formidable Shield of NATO, as said by the Ministry of Defence. The testing period will take place until Thursday, June 3, 2021, off the coasts of Scotland and Norway. In total, the program is slated to run for around three weeks.
The testing exercise aims to gauge the ability of warships to determine and combat a variety of missile attacks, ranging from sea-skimming weapons to more supersonic ones, reveals the Navy’s press release.
In total, three warships from the Royal Navy, as well as over 3,000 personnel from the military, will be participating in the said exercise tests. The warships include HMS Dragon, as well as frigates Argyll and Lancaster, with the artificial intelligence system being tested on Lancaster and Dragon respectively.
Based on the press released provided by the Royal Navy to the public, the artificial intelligence system is divided into two systems, namely the ‘Startle’ and ‘Sycoiea.’
The former is reportedly designed to help ease the load on sailors monitoring the “air picture” in the operations rooms by providing real-time recommendations and alerts.” On the other hand, Sycoiea works by determining the threat nearest the warships and how they could best deal with the situation.
The system is coupled with other state-of-the-art technology, such as high-end drones and advanced missile systems and sensors. Alongside this are skilled sailors, technicians, and scientists, all of who reportedly brought their expertise to the field to make the artificial intelligence testing program a success.
These systems and exercises are done in partnership with the defense laboratory of the United Kingdom Dstl, as well as industry partners such as CGI and BAE Systems, and Roke.
Results of the exercise showed that more individuals, such as Above Water Tactician Leading Seaman Sean Brooks, have been able to detect missiles faster than normal.
In a statement to the Evening Standard, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said, “It’s vital that our brave and highly skilled armed forces stay ahead of the game for the security of the United Kingdom and our allies. The Royal Navy’s use of AI for the first time at sea is an important development in ensuring readiness to tackle threats we may face.”