The Royal Navy has announced the building of a new Multi Role Ocean Surveillance ship (or MROSS), which will be deployed to protect the UK’s underwater infrastructure from maritime threats.
Expected to be put into service by 2024, the surface vessel MROSS will have a crew of about 15 people positioned on the ship to conduct research to help the Royal Navy and Ministry of Defence protect Britain’s undersea national infrastructure.
Undersea cables are vital communications between governments and, thus, important to the global economy. Submarine warfare is an ever-present threat to undersea cable infrastructure in the UK.
To combat this, the MROSS will be installed with sophisticated sensors, while armed with several remotely operated and autonomous undersea drones.
These drones will be made to collect data as they operate in the UK and international waters.
The whole exercise of producing MROSS is part of the UK’s wholesale modernisation of its Armed Forces, which is going to be revealed in the soon to be published Defence Command Paper.
As part of the government’s Integrated Review, the UK Prime Minister has committed to protect British citizens from various threats, including organised crime, terrorism and hostile nations by investing in crucial technologies and capabilities.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “As the threat changes, we must change. Our adversaries look to our critical national infrastructure as a key vulnerability and have developed capabilities that put these under threat. Some of our new investments will therefore go into ensuring that we have the right equipment to close down these newer vulnerabilities.
“Whether on land, sea or air, we must make sure that we maintain the UK resilience to those that attempt to weaken us.”
The MROSS will also be used to conduct research for a better understanding of British and international waters, enabling the UK to put in more efforts to detect and thwart maritime threats in order to protect vital infrastructure.