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UK Navy receives Madfox autonomous vessel.

| 2021

According to information published by UK Navy on March 26, 2021, the Royal Navy’s experimentation innovator NavyX has officially welcomed a new autonomous vessel into its service.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 New autonomous vessel Madfox (Picture source: Royal Navy)

Named Madfox (Maritime Demonstrator For Operational eXperimentation), it is derived from technology firm L3Harris’ Mast-13 vessel, which for the past 18 months has been operated by Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) on a series of trials with the Royal Navy.

Since being delivered, NavyX has been working hard to get Madfox to sea and ready to begin a demanding year of testing.

Over the next few months, NavyX will carry on its work with Uncrewed Surface Vessel (USV), while also examining how these vessels can deliver across the range of military operations including surveillance and force protection.

Commander Antony Crabb, NavyX team leader, said: “With Madfox now directly in the hands of NavyX, the team will be able to explore a multitude of issues such as safety, regulatory compliance, new missions, new payloads and the role that a USV can play in complex operations and within the future fleet.

MAST-13 is similar to a water-borne drone. At 13 metres long, the boat manoeuvre around a naval task force, either autonomously or remotely controlled from a rig. It could be used to identify threats such as mines or collect intelligence on enemy ships, and then feed this information back to Navy ships. 

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