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September 16, 2021

British Army unveils plans to make greater use of RAS in future

The RAS deployment may involve using uncrewed, computer-driven vehicles to deliver aid or for situational awareness.

The British Army has unveiled plans to make greater use of robotics and autonomous systems (RAS) in a bid to prepare the forces to combat future battlefield challenges.

The plan will increasingly explore the use of ‘human-machine teams, which will involve the deployment of soldiers with a combination of autonomous and robotic and artificial intelligence technologies.

In a statement, the UK Ministry of Defence said that the RAS deployment may involve using uncrewed, computer-driven vehicles to deliver aid to remote regions or for situational awareness.

The use of RAS will also help in rapidly deploying counter-drone capabilities for reconnaissance and use sensors to see, shift or shoot across the whole battlefield.

Chief of the General Staff Mark Carleton-Smith said: “The future British Army will draw on innovation, cutting-edge technology and play its part in defence’s ambition to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

“Our Future Soldier initiative will see more versatile and increasingly deployable land forces in the face of evolving threats.”

The British Army will also publish the ‘Approach to Electrification’ soon as part of its Future Soldier initiative.

The strategy aims to increase the use of batteries, sustainable energy and hybrid electric drive technologies in the vehicle fleet over the next 15 years.

The electrification is expected to increase operational advantage and will also boost stealth mode capabilities with reduced thermal and noise signature.

Ground Manoeuvre Capability assistant head of plans colonel Simon Ridgway said: “This approach to electrification will set out how the army intends to take advantage of the opportunities provided by sustainable technology for land capabilities.

“It will ensure the army’s electrical infrastructure is ready to meet the electrical demand required on the battlefield of the future.

“Delivering effect needs the right power, in the right place, at the right time and using hybrid vehicles will make it easier to get the power to where it needs to be.”

The British Army has already invested £10m to equip Man SV, Jackal and Foxhound vehicles with hybrid electric drives. Currently, the performance of these vehicles is being evaluated.

Earlier this year, the British Army used AI technology for the first time during the annual large-scale Nato exercise.

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