Royal Navy Uses AI At sea For First Time Off Coast Of Scotland

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HMS Lancaster. Image: Royal Navy

The Royal Navy are using Artificial Intelligence as part of an exercise taking place in waters off the Hebrides. The British ships are conducting experimental operations with a group of countries, including Spain.

FOR the first time, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being used by the Royal Navy at sea as part of Exercise Formidable Shield, which is currently taking place off the coast of Scotland.

The Operational Experiment on the HMS Dragon and HMS Lancaster) is using the AI applications, Startle and Sycoiea, which are being tested against a supersonic missile threat.

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HMS Lancaster and HMS Dragon are currently trialling the use of AI as part of a glimpse into the future of air defence at sea.

HMS Lancaster’s Weapon Engineer Officer, Lieutenant Commander Adam Leveridge said, “Observing Startle and Sycoiea augment the human warfighter in real time against a live supersonic missile threat was truly impressive – a glimpse into our highly-autonomous future.”

Exercise Formidable Shield is Europe’s biggest and most complex air and missile exercise. Designed to improve allied interoperability and capabilities, it is a three-week exercise that carries out live-fire Integrated Air & Missile Defence activity with more than 15 ships, 10 aircraft and around 3,300 military personnel from around the world taking part.


Using NATO command and control reporting structures, ten nations are taking part in the Exercise including Spain, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.


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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.

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