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RN sets out NavyPODS vision for deployable mission modules

The UK Royal Navy (RN) has outlined plans to develop a suite of deployable and interchangeable mission modules to enable the rapid fielding of specific capabilities across a range of platforms.

Known as NavyPODS – Navy Persistent Operational Deployment System – the concept is being developed through the service's Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO). NavyPODS payloads are intended to span a number of mission areas including intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), logistics, strike, and force protection.

The NavyPODS concept was first publicly briefed by Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral Nick Hine during a conference address to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) last month.

“We have always sought modularity as the nirvana of capability flexibility, but have never been able to afford it,” he told the IISS audience. “Rather than ‘design modularity in', we have chosen to design it out. These PODS will be bespoke containers housing new ways of delivery in mine hunting, survey, air systems, communications, lethality, medical and more. This means that all platforms have the ability to become upgradeable with the arrival of a new POD.”

According to OCTO, the goal of NavyPODS is to create a range of platform-agnostic deployable mission modules, based on an ISO equivalent container, containing a system or multiple systems that contribute towards a specific capability. The idea is that these modules would be applicable to a range of platforms (including the Type 26 and Type 31 frigates, amphibious ships, offshore patrol vessels, auxiliary ships, and Future Commando Force elements ashore). Delivery (ship-to-ship or ship-to-shore) would be via autonomous stabilised platforms, or using a heavy-lift unmanned aerial system (UAS).

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