Thales UK opened a new maritime autonomy trials and training center in Turnchapel Wharf in Plymouth, in a ceremony on October 11.
The waterfront facility will provide access to trials areas for development of maritime autonomous systems and will act as the key maritime integration, test and evaluation center for the combined United Kingdom and French maritime mine counter measures (MMCM) program.
“Our Armed Forces must remain a step ahead of our adversaries, something we can only do by collaborating with our leading British defence industry,” UK defense minister Stuart Andrew said at the opening ceremony of the £1 million facility. “Thales’ new Maritime Autonomy Centre is another great example of the work being done by our suppliers to ensure our military remains equipped with state-of-the-art capabilities.”
Thales says Turnchapel Wharf will change the way autonomous capability is developed over the next decade by enabling rapid exploration and exploitation of emergent and disruptive technologies.
The company has invested £1 million in the facility, with a minimum five-year commitment to developing autonomous systems at the site in Plymouth, with 20 new jobs created through its opening.
Local SMEs, partners and suppliers will take part in initiatives at the facility, while local schools will run STEM activities onsite. The center will also be available to academia, enabling institutions working in partnership with Thales UK – such as the University of Plymouth, University of Southampton and the National Oceanography Centre.