The Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson has today announced that British troops will be testing 70 examples of future technology including enhanced surveillance drones and unmanned vehicles.
Autonomous Warrior will last for four weeks and test a range of innovative technologies, aiming to reduce the danger to troops during combat. The exercise will finish with a battlegroup experiment, where the best ideas and products will be tested in the toughest of simulated operational environments.
A key focus of the initiative is to test capabilities around autonomous last mile resupply. The ‘last mile’, which represents the extremely dangerous final approach to the combat zone, is vital to ensuring soldiers have the food, fuel and ammunition to keep them alive. Therefore the technologies will be applicable to surveillance, long-range and precision targeting, enhanced mobility and the re-supply of forces, urban warfare and enhanced situational awareness.
The US Army, Royal Marines, RAF and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) will join industry partners and academia in working alongside them, experimenting with over 70 products and systems.
Autonomous Warrior is a key part of the £800 million Defence Innovation Fund which supports ground-breaking ideas aimed at transforming both defence and British industry.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
“Our troops now have the chance to test out a huge range of robotic kit in what will be the biggest exercise of its kind in our history. We’re always working with the brightest minds in Britain and across the world to see how they can support our military of the future, but now the frontrunners have the chance to prove what they can really do on a battlefield. This equipment could revolutionise our Armed Forces, keeping them safe and giving them the edge in an increasingly unstable world.”