September’s top news stories

9 October 2018 (Last Updated October 9th, 2018 15:14)

DARPA to invest $2bn to accelerate the third wave of AI programmes, Poland to acquire Patriot system under the US Army’s $1.5bn FMS contract and the US reportedly cancelled $300m in military aid to Pakistan. Army-Technology.com wraps up the key news stories from September 2018.

September’s top news stories
DARPA’s Artificial Intelligence Exploration concept. Credit: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

DARPA to invest $2bn to accelerate third wave of AI programmes

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is set to invest more than $2bn in new and existing artificial intelligence (AI) programmes.

Known as the ‘AI Next’ campaign, the multi-year strategy focuses on the contextual reasoning in AI systems in order to develop more trusting collaborations between humans and machines.

Defined as the third wave of technological advance, the next-generation of AI intends to explore new theories and applications that would enable the machines to adapt to changing situations.

Poland to acquire Patriot system under US Army’s $1.5bn FMS contract

Raytheon secured a new Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract, worth more than $1.5bn, from the US Army to manufacture Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target (Patriot) missile units for Poland.

Under the deal, the company will be responsible for the production and delivery of four Patriot integrated air and missile defence systems, in addition, to spare parts, support and training.

Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems Business of Integrated Air and Missile Defense vice-president Tom Laliberty said: “Patriot will enhance Polish, European and NATO security while creating jobs in Poland and the US.”

US to cancel $300m in military aid to Pakistan

The US has been reportedly set to cancel $300m of military aid to Pakistan over failure to take required actions to tackle militant groups and reduce terrorist actions.

The development comes at a time when US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due to visit Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan.

In a statement, Pentagon spokesman Koné Faulkner was quoted by the Press Trust of India (PTI) as saying: “We continue to press Pakistan to indiscriminately target all terrorist groups, including the Haqqani Network and Lashkar-e-Taiba in the region.”

British Army to purchase new Boxer fighting vehicles from UK companies

The British Army intended to acquire a new initial fleet of more than 500 eight-wheeled multi-role armoured Boxer vehicles.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) gave a green light to Artec to invite British companies with their new contractible proposals for the Boxer vehicles project.

Artec is a joint venture company formed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles and Rheinmetall Military Vehicles Nederland, and is responsible for leading the production of the UK Boxers.

Trump directed implementation of new National Biodefense Strategy

US President Donald J. Trump directed the implementation of a new National Biodefense Strategy that will help the country to more effectively prepare for and counter man-made and natural biological threats.

The implementation of the actions determined under the document will help promote a more efficient, coordinated and accountable bio-defence enterprise while strengthening the nation’s biodefence capabilities to better protect the people and homeland.

Trump said: “We must protect the American people, the homeland and our great American way of life.”

UK DSTL-led Project Minerva tested chemical detection robots and drones

The UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL)-led Project Minerva tested a new fleet of lifesaving robots and drones.

The systems are designed to help detect harmful chemical agents, provide 3D mapping and identify casualties.

Co-funded by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Home Office, the multi-million-pound project was contracted through the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) with funding from Defence Science and Technology (DST).

Indian Army conducted twin tests of DRDO-built MPATGM weapon system

The Indian Army successfully conducted the first and second flight tests of its newly developed man-portable anti-tank guided missile (MPATGM).

The twin tests on the indigenously built low-weight missile were carried out on two consecutive days at the army’s Ahmednagar range in Maharashtra, India.

Once deployed into service, the anti-tank guided missiles will enable the Indian Army to attack and destroy hostile tanks in the battlefield.

British autonomous technology tested in mock urban battlefield

Canadian soldiers tested new British autonomous technology under a mock urban battlefield environment in Montreal.

Known as SAPIENT, the advanced technology was developed by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and UK industry partners.

During the test, UK-built sensors demonstrated ability in autonomous decision making as they scavenged the mock urban battlefield and informed the soldiers taking part in the experiment about the potential dangers.