MAST-13 Autonomous Surface Vehicle, now known as Madfox Docked at HMNB Portsmouth
Navy

Royal Navy Receives New Autonomous Vessel

NavyX will now explore how the vessel will operate within the fleet.

MAST-13 Autonomous Surface Vehicle, now known as Madfox Docked at HMNB Portsmouth

The Royal Navy's experimental branch, NavyX, has received a new autonomous vessel into its service.

NavyX tests and trials cutting-edge equipment.

The vessel, called Madfox (Maritime Demonstrator For Operational eXperimentation), has spent the last 18 months being operated by Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) on a series of trials with the Royal Navy.  

Now in the hands of NavyX, it will undergo another year of demanding testing, seeing how it can deliver across a range of military operations including surveillance and force protection.

The investment in Madfox comes as the Royal Navy and Royal Marines look to expand their use of crewless and autonomous equipment.

Commander Antony Crabb, NavyX team leader, said they will explore the role the vessel can play in "complex operations and within the future fleet."

MAST-13 Autonomous Surface Vehicle, now known as Madfox Docked at HMNB Portsmouth
It is hoped that the vessel will work alongside the new Type 26 and Type 31 class ships (Picture: MOD).

Later this year NavyX will also accept an autonomous Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) into the inventory. 

Commander Crabb added: "This exciting work will help inform how systems are deployed, and employed, from future vessels of the Type 26 and Type 31 classes."

The MAST-13 vessel proved a success during experimentation in Norway last year when it was successfully integrated with HMS Albion.

There it was controlled remotely, including for the transit in and out of the ship's dock. 

Cover Image: MAST-13 Autonomous Surface Vehicle, now known as Madfox, docked at HMNB Portsmouth (Picture: MOD).