The Royal Navy is planning to use AI and virtual reality to manage the maintenance of its ships and submarines.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has highlighted the plan as an element of a new £1.85 billion contract between its Defence Equipment and Support arm and technology company Thales UK to support the availability and resilience of the Navy Fleet over the next 15 years.
The deal also involves the provision of sonar and sensors, and the creation of 150 new jobs across the UK.
Named the Maritime Sensor Enhancement Team (MSET) contract, it includes the provision for the Navy to use proactive and predictive maintenance systems to maximise the number of days its ships and submarines are ready for deployment. MoD has not so far provided further details.
It will also increate the longevity of the Navy’s sensor and sonar capability to support the UK’s continuous at sea deterrent.
Around 300 jobs from a previous Thales UK support contract will be sustained and a further 150 STEM jobs, including skilled engineering roles and apprenticeships, will be created across Devonport, Faslane, Glasgow, Portsmouth, Cheadle, Crawley and Bristol.
Defence Secretary Grant Schapps said: “In a time of global instability, it is imperative we minimise the time our ships and submarines are out for maintenance.
“This is another partnership with Thales UK and our outstanding UK defence sector that not only boosts national security but provides a boost to local communities and helps fuel economic growth.”