The autonomous capabilities of BAE Systems’ Pacific 24 (P24) Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB), a staple in the Royal Navy surface fleet, could significantly enhance the Royal Navy’s ability to protect its sailors at reach, as the upgraded sea boat is able to execute its own missions without crew and be run from a warship.
Such missions could include anti-piracy operations, border control, persistent intelligence gathering, maritime security and force protection, all while keeping a sailor safe from harm.
The autonomous P24 has been procured under the Royal Navy’s autonomy and lethality accelerator programme, Navy X, which aims to deliver new technology into the hands of sailors and marines at pace.
The successful launch of the sea boat took place at Trafalgar Wharf, Portsmouth, in June 2020. At 7.8 metres long, the P24 is a small and agile boat that offers a top speed of 38 knots (nearly 44mph). It is deployed for a variety of tasks. In a military context, this ranges from counter-piracy and counter-narcotics missions, to force protection, rescue and logistics operations
is used extensively by today’s Royal Navy surface fleet, being embarked on a number of warships and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels. These include the UK’s new aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, all its Type 45 destroyers, Type 23 frigates and Offshore Patrol Vessels.