The following is a “first,” but it may be the first of many.  In its annual review of defense policy, the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence announced that it would build a new type of ship for the specific purpose of protecting submarine cables from disruption by a foreign power.

The Multi-Role Ocean Surveillance ship (MROSS) will be relatively small, with a crew of about 15, and will carry ROVs and autonomous underwater vehicles, according to the BBC, who interviewed U.K. Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace about this vessel. 

U.K. defense officials have been concerned about the safety and security of the nation’s submarine cables in recent years.  In 2017, the chief of the defense staff noted the threat to submarine cables posed by foreign powers. 

It is believed that the MROSS would be the first such naval vessel specifically tasked to monitor and protect submarine cables using remote and autonomous technology.  It is scheduled to enter service in 2024. 

Hopefully, there will be more information about this vessel released soon.