The British Army has commenced the 2018 Autonomous Warrior army combat experiment, announced Ministry of Defence (MoD) Secretary Gavin Williamson.
As part of the experiment, UK troops have started testing more than 70 systems representing futuristic technology on the fields of Salisbury Plain. Systems include enhanced surveillance drones and unmanned vehicles.
Due to run for four weeks, Autonomous Warrior has been designed to test a wide range of prototype unmanned aerial and autonomous ground vehicles that would be capable of reducing danger to soldiers during combat.
The exercise will culminate with a battlegroup experiment, where ‘the best ideas and innovations’ will be tested in the most challenging simulated operational environments.
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.”
As part of the UK’s £800m Defence Innovation Fund, the experiment will be carried out to test a range of technologies in surveillance, long-range and precision targeting, enhanced mobility and the re-supply of forces, urban warfare as well as enhanced situational awareness.
It will involve the participation of the US Army, the Royal Marines, the Royal Air Force, and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. They will work in close collaboration with industry partners and academia to evaluate the products and systems.
The Autonomous Warrior exercise was launched by the UK Government in June in order to help enhance the technology and military capability of the UK Army in land environments.