Madfox: UK Navy unveils unmanned drone boat

New vessel could carry out covert patrols of British waters

Madfox Autonomous Boat Docked at HMNB Portsmouth

The Madfox autonomous boat has officially been handed over to the Royal Navy. After 18 months of rigorous trials and testing, the vessel is now owned by the Navy.

Britain’s Royal Navy unveiled a state-of-the-art drone boat that could one day patrol UK waters without the need for a crew.

Equipped with the latest technology and artificial intelligence, the 11-metre Madfox could carry out covert missions, such as monitoring drug gangs.

The drone boat is being trialled by the Navy’s experimental arm, NavyX, which is dedicated to testing new technology for use on the front line.

NavyX is testing the multi-million pound Madfox before it is put into service.

It is hoped the boat will be operational in the next few years as the Navy seeks to modernise its fleet.

NavyX team leader Commander Antony Crabb, said his team was examining how the vessel could assist in a variety of operations, including surveillance and protection.

"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 an unmanned surface vehicle can play in complex operations and within the future fleet," he said.

Britain’s defence science and technology laboratory has worked on the vessel in trials for the past 18 months.


Madfox is an acronym for "maritime demonstrator for operational experimentation".