A specialist mine-hunting mothership, which can autonomously launch drones to seek and destroy underwater threats, has arrived at HMNB Devonport, Plymouth.
Currently named MV Island Crown, the 96.8m-long ship is an advanced mine-hunting platform that will support the Navy's mine-hunting operations, under Project Wilton.
The £40m ship is due to be renamed and modified before it joins the fleet and takes up active duty.
Defence procurement minister Alex Chalk said: "This is another significant step forward in the modernisation of Royal Navy capabilities and use of autonomous systems to complement our crewed fleet.
"This vessel will play a crucial role in the detection of undersea threats, keeping our personnel out of harm's way while they conduct vital operations."
Before it can join the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, the ship will undergo a period of modification and it is intended to become operational in the spring.
The ship will undergo minimal conversion work, primarily to support the installation of military communication systems and Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) operations, before being handed over to the RFA later this year.
When deployed, the platform will support the safeguarding of UK waters from the threat of mines at sea, operating a range of uncrewed systems that will help keep personnel at a safe distance.
The uncrewed systems will include the joint French-UK Maritime Mine Counter Measures (MMCM) system, the Combined Influence Sweep (SWEEP) system and Medium Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (MAUVs).
Commodore Steve Prest, Director Navy Acquisition, said: "The delivery of this ship is an important step in the Navy's transformation to conducting mine countermeasures using distributed offboard systems-of-systems.
"The ship will be used to extend the range of our Maritime Autonomous Systems from coastal waters to conducting offshore survey operations in defence of the homeland."
The mothership will be operated by specialist teams who will use the innovative systems onboard to protect UK waters and provide support to the North Atlantic and European waters when required.
The purchase of the £40m ship was carried out by Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), the procurement arm of the Ministry of Defence.