The Ocean Basin test facility at Haslar
QinetiQ has launched a Maritime Autonomy Centre (MAC), providing an extensive range of equipment and software to support the entire lifecycle of a maritime autonomous system, from concept development, through assessment and evaluation to operations.
Tony Graham, Director D Ships, DE&S said, “The creation of the QinetiQ Maritime Autonomy Centre is a demonstration of their confidence in the future defence value that will be delivered through maritime autonomous systems. I would hope that the commercial and defence sector, academia and our international partners will see the obvious benefits of specialist staff running secure technical facilities with world class hydrodynamic facilities and deployable range capabilities focusing on defence solutions. I’m particularly pleased to learn that the experimental Ocean Basin at Haslar will be able to support sensitive research and development in this growing international market”.
At the beginning of 2013 the UK government identified autonomous systems as one of the ‘eight great technologies’ which will propel the UK to future growth. In response, QinetiQ has set up the centre with the support of the MOD, to help the development of both underwater and surface autonomous systems, drawing on over 20 years gained from the development of air and land autonomous systems.
Based in Haslar, Portsmouth, the new centre will be Europe’s premier supplier of test and evaluation services, allowing the defence industry to assess the performance of new autonomous technology in a secure environment. It will provide a comprehensive design and development service for evaluation of emerging technologies, using both simulation and physical testing capabilities.
The capabilities will range from closed water testing through to full scale open water tests where a number of assets can operate together to de-risk a mission prior to deployment. A virtual adaptive independent modelling environment will also allow system architecture and mission systems to be developed.
Sarah Kenny, Managing Director, QinetiQ Maritime said, “QinetiQ has a long history of delivering complex maritime systems and systems support and we are very pleased to be announcing the creation of this new centre of excellence. We have an enviable pool of skilled personnel, including specialists in underwater communications, sensor integration, ship and submarine design, hydrodynamics, complex synthetic and physical trials, mission and combat system design, and intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance. These skills, combined with our physical maritime testing facilities, equipment and software, ideally place us to be at the forefront of the development of maritime autonomous systems.”