Blade Runner gets her sea legs

The MOD's  MAST vessel,  Bladerunner, is launced from Port William Harbour
The MOD's MAST vessel, Bladerunner, is launced from Port William Harbour

A boat that wouldn’t look out of place in a Bond film was launched from Port William Harbour this morning at 9am.

The Ministry of Defence’s Maritime Autonomy Surface Testbed (MAST) vessel, Blade Runner, is being trialled in the area. Blade Runner can operate as an unmanned surface vessel and is packed with high tech equipment to allow the MOD to test and evolve tactics for employing maritime autonomous systems. It left for West Freugh for trials at QintetiQ. It is being used to demonstrate high speed autonomous capability. At 34 foot long and about 2.5 tons fully loaded, the boat can travel at 40 to 50 knots. MAST is owned by Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), but operated and maintained by ASV Global, who are developing its autonomous capabilities under funding from Dstl.