UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) scientists have conducted an urban military experiment, known as the Contested Urban Environment exercise (CUE2021).

During the exercise, both the UK and other international scientists and engineers evaluated new technologies that offer help to forces in finding enemy troops when operating in confined or urban environments.

The new equipment was tested together with futuristic technology in certain locations near Portsmouth and its Naval Base.

The 1 Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Brigade (1 ISR Bde), 1st Battalion The Rifles and 1 Artillery Brigade took the lead in testing.

UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) chief adviser Processor Dame Angela McLean said: “It was impressive to see the CUE21 experiment in action, testing this kind of technology is absolutely vital to better equip our armed forces.

“The collaboration with our allies means we are able to share technical knowledge to fight the battles of the future together.”

For the event, Dstl partnered with industry and academia, and its Five Eyes allied nations namely, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US.

The exercise is as part of The Technical Cooperation Programme (TTCP).

Under the programme, the five partner nations are testing advanced technologies such as highly distributed autonomous sensors.

The systems use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to detect threats including uncrewed air vehicles and support intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) activities in all domains of warfare.

Furthermore, the five nations are also testing equipment that supports soldiers operating in dense urban terrain, casualty evacuation, robotic and autonomous systems for logistics re-supply and more.

Dstl CUE national lead Christopher Briggs said: “This is an opportunity for science and technology to have a major impact on military capability in urban environments, as well as enhancing our mutual reliance with our closest allies.

“Current thinking on future conflicts has been used to generate scenarios that show the challenges of operations in city settings against a range of potential enemies.”

In November 2017, the first CUE exercise took place in Australia while the second was held in Canada in 2018.

The most recent CUE experiment event took place in the US in 2019.