Could this be the dreadnought of the future? The team behind the design concept at QinetiQ’s Portsdown Technology Park located in Southwick think it could be just that. The team came up with the design as part of the Startpoint project, a new government/industry Maritime Mission Systems initiative to debut the latest and future naval technologies at the Defence and Security Equipment International exhibition in London this month.
Looking more like something out of Star Trek the mean looking ‘dreadnought’ features a wealth of futuristic advances in weaponry, propulsion and crew ergonomics. The vessel is envisioned to include a flight of quad-rotor drones for surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance. Tests were carried out last month on the possible uses of miniature UAVs from surface vessels.
It is envisaged the ship would be 155m in length, feature a trimaran hull for stability at high speed and have a crew of less than 100 thanks to increased automation. The bridge of this advanced vessel would be more akin to an office than a ship of war with all traditional control mechanisms removed in place of computer terminals with technology akin to the aviation industry. The vessel would be capable of a speed of around 50knots compared to the Type 45 (Daring-class)’s top speed of just over 30knots. Armament would include an electromagnetic railgun that could hurl missiles and high explosive shells at hypersonic speeds meaning the naval gun will make a triumphant return to the fore. The technology is similar to what the US Navy are using to replace the steam catapult on their aircraft carriers.
QinetiQ believe this is how warships of 2050 will look.