Thales UK’s new Maritime Autonomy Centre has officially opened in Turnchapel Wharf, Plymouth.
Whilst still in its infancy, countries around the world are heavily increasing their investments in autonomous military systems which will likely be prominent in conflicts to come. This new maritime autonomy centre of excellence may enable the Royal Navy to be at the forefront of the autonomy revolution and harness this technology to defend the nation.
The new facility will provide direct access to an area designated for autonomous systems trials and become a key part of the Maritime Mine Countermeasures programme (MMCM), the joint UK/France programme developing autonomous mine hunters. The MMCM programme has entered its integration and validation stage.
WIth £1m invested in the Turnchapel Wharf facility, Thales will create at least 20 high skilled jobs during its minimum five-year commitment to the centre.
Victor Chavez, Chief Executive of Thales in the UK, says: “The unique waterfront location at Turnchapel Wharf will provide access to shallow and deep water trials areas for the development of cutting edge maritime solutions. Our ambition is to help anchor a vibrant ecosystem in Plymouth for the development of advanced autonomous systems and we are already working with a range of academic and industry partners to make this a reality.”
Stuart Andrew, Minister for Defence Procurement, says: “Our Armed Forces must remain a step ahead of our adversaries, something we can only do by collaborating with our leading British defence industry. Thales’s new Maritime Autonomy Centre is another great example of the work being done by our suppliers to ensure our military remains equipped with state-of-the-art capabilities. This centre of excellence will enable industry and academia to experiment and innovate together to help counter emerging sea-based threats and ensure we remain one of the world’s leading militaries."