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L3 ASV, Dstl complete autonomous recce missions at ‘Autonomous Warrior’

16 January 2019
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MAST-9 was tested as part of ‘Autonomous Warrior 18’. Source: L3 ASV

Autonomous maritime systems house L3 ASV has revealed testing of an experimental unmanned craft fitted out with advanced autonomous navigation as part of the 'Autonomous Warrior 18' showcase event in Jervis Bay, Australia.

Tested in support of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), the 9 m Maritime Autonomy Surface Testbed craft, known as MAST-9, was tasked to perform a series of reconnaissance, interdiction, and patrol missions.

Designed and built by L3 ASV, MAST-9 used radar to provide situational awareness, making it possible to detect and avoid other vessels accordingly. The vessel operated in fully autonomous mode, including COLREG-aware collision avoidance, navigating the waterways at speeds of up to 40 kt for over 80 hours, across the two-week event. This aggregated to a distance of 1,380 km covered.

According to L3 ASV, the MAST-9 system completed about 100 tasks commanded from the Maritime Autonomous Platform Exploitation (MAPLE) command-and-control system. MAPLE is a Dstl project designed to demonstrate and de-risk the integration of multiple unmanned systems into future UK Royal Navy combat systems.

"Operational status and payload feedback were communicated to and from MAPLE using ASView, L3 ASV's proprietary autonomous control system," said the company, adding, "Using an optical and infrared camera, MAST-9 demonstrated high-speed inspection capability. The ASView control system allowed the remote mission commanders to track and follow target vessels for interdiction tasks."

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