Wind-powered carrier and unmanned attack boats could feature for Navy

A wind-powered aircraft carrier, an underwater flagship and unmanned attack boats have all been proposed as future fighting vessels for the Royal Navy.

Young engineers from UK Naval Engineering Science and Technology (UKnest), have created the designs to set out a future vision for the Senior Service.

The design for a fast strike vehicle
The design for a fast strike vehicle (Royal Navy/Ministry of Defence/Crown Copyright/PA)

Other proposals include drones based in the stratosphere to be launched at a moment’s notice and uncrewed fast attack craft which house smaller autonomous boats.

Another conceptual idea which is expected to go into service within the next decade is special modules which are interchangeable between ships.

A navy spokesman said: “Similar in design to a shipping container, the Persistent Operational Deployment Systems (Pods) create the idea of a ‘plug and play’ warship and will enable Royal Navy ships of all sizes to be more adaptable and versatile when deployed.

An underwater platform design
An underwater platform design (Royal Navy/Ministry of Defence/Crown Copyright/PA)

“Delivered using innovative technology such as heavy-lift drones or autonomous boats, a ship will be able to receive the equipment it needs to be re-tasked quicker without the need to go into a port to collect it.

“These may include an autonomous boat for surveillance and reconnaissance, quadcopter drones to deliver supplies, humanitarian aid and disaster relief stores or medical equipment.

“Versatile in their approach, they have the capacity to become an additional medical room for service personnel at sea or a control centre for Royal Marines’ operations.”

The design for a wind-powered aircraft carrier
The design for a wind-powered aircraft carrier (Royal Navy/Ministry of Defence/Crown Copyright/PA)

Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral Nick Hine said: “In a future scenario if we find ourselves unable to compete traditionally in terms of mass, we must think differently if we are to regain operational advantage.

“The young engineers who worked on this project are thinking radically and with real imagination and reflects how the Royal Navy is thinking too.”