Highlands & Islands

Unmanned boat to play part in Navy's first 'robot wars'

Unmanned military boat on Thames Image copyright PA
Image caption The unmanned boat dubbed Mast will take part in a training exercise in October

An unmanned boat designed for military use has been unveiled as one of 50 vehicles and devices that will feature in "robot wars" exercises off Scotland.

The craft called Maritime Autonomy Surface Testbed (Mast) was displayed on the Thames in London earlier this week.

The Royal Navy said it is to play a part in the inaugural Unmanned Warrior.

The exercise in October is to be held in parts of the sea off north west Scotland, the Western Isles and west Wales, the Navy said.

The service has previously described Unmanned Warrior as its first "robot wars".

Image copyright POA Owen Cooban/MOD/PA
Image caption Mast on the Thames earlier this week

It will involve drones, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and machines that can operate underwater.

Companies that manufacture the weapons and Nato member countries have been invited by the Royal Navy to take part.

Since 2014, the Royal Navy has been promoting Unmanned Warrior 2016 to drone technology businesses. More than 40 organisations are expected to take part.

Various scenarios will be run to test the capability of the machines in areas such as anti-submarine warfare, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Unmanned Warrior will be held during the UK-led Exercise Joint Warrior.

Joint Warrior is one of Nato's largest training events and is held twice a year for thousands of army, navy and air force personnel.

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Exercise Joint Warrior is one of Nato's largest training events

The first of this year's Joint Warrior exercises was held in April.

Most of the training takes place in and around Scotland with warships operating out of Faslane on the Clyde and aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth in Moray.

Live firing is also done at Cape Wrath in Sutherland, while large-scale military manoeuvres have taken place in the past at West Freugh near Stranraer.

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