UK DASA awards funding to companies for Manned-Unmanned Teaming

24 September 2019 (Last Updated July 30th, 2020 11:11)

The UK Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) has awarded funding to six companies for the development of semi-autonomous concept demonstrators for the British Army.

UK DASA awards funding to companies for Manned-Unmanned Teaming
General Dynamics’ MUTT 6×6 Unmanned Ground Vehicle displayed at DSEI 2019 event in London. Credit: General Dynamics UK.

The UK Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) has awarded funding to six companies for the development of semi-autonomous concept demonstrators for the British Army.

Leonardo, General Dynamics (UK), QinetiQ, Horiba-Mira, SCISYS and Tekever were awarded a share of £3m.

The winners of the DASA competition will showcase their innovations at the Army Warfighting Experiment (AWE19) in April next year.

DASA called for ideas that could demonstrate the ability of semi-autonomous unmanned reconnaissance systems to work in coordination with manned forces for the British Army.

The concept is known as Manned-Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T). The AWE19 experiment will be run by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).

British Army Capability director major general Jeremy Bennett said: “The army’s commitment to innovation and UK prosperity has been reinforced in the army Warfighting Experiment 19.

“We will work with both the Wildcat prime contractor, Leonardo, and the Ajax manufacturer, General Dynamics (UK), to integrate the control station for UAVs into these platforms.

“Building on previous investment with QinetiQ and Horiba-MIRA, we will show how high levels of automation will reduce the cognitive burden for vehicle commanders and helicopter crews. Finally, two consortiums of small and medium-sized enterprises headed by SCISYS and Tekever will explore the benefits of open architectures and operating UAVs beyond visual range.”

The competition focused on identifying advanced technologies to reduce the burden of the operator in controlling an unmanned system.

The innovations are intended to ensure minimal intervention and allow the operators to focus on other military tasks in the field.

Last week, General Dynamics UK announced that it will demonstrate Multi-Utility Tactical Transport (MUTT) 6×6 unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) and an optionally tethered unmanned air system (UAS), deployed from the AJAX reconnaissance vehicle at the AWE19 experiment.

The company submitted its proposal for MUM-T to DASA earlier this year.