Royal Navy reveals new ship XV Patrick Blackett which is expected to help with experimentation

The Royal Navy today unveiled a unique testbed ship to support trials of the latest tech and autonomous systems, the ship is expected to take part in Royal Navy and NATO exercises in the future. The 42m, 270-tonne vessel arrived in Portsmouth this week and is named after former Royal Navy sailor and Nobel Prize winner Patrick Blackett.

The ship has been named XV Patrick Blackett to honour the British physicist who won a Nobel Prize for Physics in 1948. Patrick served in the Royal Navy in the First World War and made a major contribution in the Second World War.

The addition of this experimental vessel will allow the navy to be able to carry out more trials at sea to enhance the Fleet’s operations and ensure the UK stays at the leading edge of naval warfare. XV Patrick Blackett will enable NavyX to experiment without the need to place demand on other navy ships, many of which are deployed permanently away from UK waters, she will also offer the chance to work closer with industry and academia partners.

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The ship which can reach speeds of 20 knots, will have a crew of five Royal Navy personnel and will be adaptable to specific trials or experiments it’s carrying out including testing drones and autonomous vessels and AI decision-making. Colonel Tom Ryall, Head of NavyX, said: “The arrival of this vessel is a pivotal moment for NavyX’s ability to deliver output for the Royal Navy.

“She will give us greater flexibility to experiment with novel military capabilities, and accelerate new technology, kit and concepts to the frontline.”

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