British Royal Navy Planning Next Generation Frigate To Be Based Around App-Based Tools
The British Royal Navy faces an interesting challenge over the coming few years as it seeks to modernise its fleet of warships. First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Phillip Jones, explained that the Royal Navy wants to embrace information technology including providing a next generation frigate with a voice control system not unlike Apple’s digital personal assistant, Siri. The comments came during the Defence and Security Equipment International exhibition, held in London every other year. Britain is the sixth largest arms exporter in the world and much of the 2017 exhibition was centred around the role of information technology in warfare.
In the detail, Admiral Jones explained that the new Type 31e frigate, “will feature different app-based tools which can access the ship’s data. These will be operated from a series of touchscreen displays, Siri-style voice-controlled assistants and perhaps even augmented reality technology.” The Royal Navy’s Type 31e frigates are scheduled to be deployed in 2023 and will be the most high-tech warship in British service. Admiral Jones did not elaborate as to how, exactly, these “app-based tools” will work onboard the new frigates.
Clearly, the Royal Navy is not thinking it will have the warships able to tell the captain what time it is in Los Angeles or if he or she will need an umbrella outside. Instead the modern warship’s systems will need to be able to quickly, efficiently and reliably process and present a massive amount of data. Any voice control system deployed would need to be a part of an integrated system. The use of touchscreen controls could make the inside of a warship more familiar to new recruits, who will likely be used to touchscreen controls instead in preference to physical buttons.