Royal Navy working with tech giants Microsoft and Amazon to embrace new technologies

The Royal Navy continues its commitment to delivering the latest technology to the frontline of operations by cooperating with global technology giants, Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Royal Navy

The Royal Navy’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) challenged two companies to demonstrate how the industry could bring new loud-based technology into the hands of the warfighter quicker than ever before.

The tech giants showcased how Edge Cloud computing could allow new technologies to be incorporated into frontline services, demonstrating how drones, software and cloud technology can enhance missions ranging from warfare operations to humanitarian assistance.

“We have been learning by doing, by bringing big tech, small companies and Navy personnel together with other partners across defence to try and embrace technology in a completely revolutionary way,” Chief Technology Officer Brigadier Dan Cheesman said.

Cheesman added that the trials undertaken during Stormcloud demonstrated how the Royal Navy continues to adopt new technology more quickly and cost-effectively, mirroring the success of companies like SpaceX.

“We have taken lessons from and worked with industry to make us more able to get after the technology we see in our civilian lives in a better and more coherent way, and to get it to the frontline – to the war fighter.”

Specifically, AWS focused its efforts on showcasing how Edge Cloud technology could incorporate apps, drones, communication systems and cloud software to support the Royal Navy in humanitarian disaster missions.

Meanwhile, Microsoft used a different pathway by demonstrating how Edge Cloud technology could be incorporated into a Command Mission System (CMS), allowing the integration of different technology into the CMS to enhance warfighting capabilities.

In addition to this, Stormcloud, with AWS, Microsoft and their range of partners, will progress further over the next year, to incorporate ideas from across defence and to demonstrate how two tech companies can revolutionize and how to get technology into the hands of sailors and Royal Marines.

The recent event comes as the Royal Navy continues its commitment to embracing technology and operating at the forefront of innovation.

It has collaborated with industry partners to identify what equipment could be adapted for use in defence and how to accelerate it to the frontline. It has also looked at how to ensure current ships and future classes can be adapted for a range of global operations. 

To remind, in March this year, the Royal Navy was the first in the world to fit a quantum technology, an atomic clock, on its aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales. The navy worked alongside BP and Teledyne e2v, a Teledyne UK company, to adapt the quantum technology for use.

The technology, which is about the size of a typical laptop, provides a “highly-accurate time signal” which will allow the ship’s complex combat systems to synchronize should the more traditional GPS signal fail.

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