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DSEI 2021: Royal Navy sets out its course to ‘podularisation'

The UK Royal Navy (RN) is pressing ahead with plans to develop and demonstrate a suite of modular and interchangeable mission containers that are designed to support the rapid deployment of role-based capability around the fleet.

Prototypes of Navy Persistent Operational Deployment System (NavyPODS) are planned to enter test and evaluation in early 2022. The RN foresees deployment of production-standard modules across a range of current and future platforms.

Being led by the navy's Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) organisation, the NavyPODS concept envisages the development of a range of platform-agnostic deployable mission modules, based on ISO-equivalent containers, involving any one of a number of mission payload facilities. Speaking at DSEI 2021 on 15 September, Vice Admiral Nick Hine, Second Sea Lord, said that rather than choosing to design modularity into platforms, the RN was looking to design it out. “Our concept is to simplify the ship [making it] utilitarian, adaptable, common, cheaper,” he said. “Capability will be defined by the modules you add to or remove from that ship based on the operational demand at that time.”

Having already acquired one commercial container to use as a NavyPODS showcase at DSEI, the OCTO team is looking to procure four full Mil-Spec containers to support initial test and evaluation. Janes understands that these will respectively host a visualisation suite, reachback communications for autonomous systems control, a future maritime aviation module, and a ‘factory in the box' additive manufacturing facility.

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