UK Government commits £30m to accelerate battlefield apps development

Nancy Victor 12 March 2019 (Last Updated March 12th, 2019 14:35)

UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has confirmed an additional £30m in funding to accelerate the development of battlefield apps.

UK Government commits £30m to accelerate battlefield apps development
The UK Ministry of Defence has announced an extra £30m in funds to speed up the upgrade of battlefield apps. Credit: PEO C3T.

UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has confirmed an additional £30m in funding to accelerate the development of battlefield apps.

The funding for the innovative Application and Software Design is part of the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) new £160m transformation fund. It supports efforts to provide advanced capabilities for the British armed forces.

The project is known as Platform for Rapid Exploitation of Digital Applications (PREDA).

It aims to create applications that can be rolled out on military networks in days. The initial focus will be to provide tools to support decision-making and command and control.

An MOD spokesperson told Army Technology that “PREDA will provide a step change in Defence’s ability to respond to the battlespace’s C4ISR demands through the rapid and innovative exploitation of Application and Software Design.  This will allow deployed commanders to employ tailored planning and targeting tools, specific to their operation.

“Whilst PREDA will initially provide tailored applications and software to support command and control and decision support in our operational and deployed headquarters, the initiative will have far wider utility.  We envisage that PREDA will be able to transform the wider business of prosecuting operations, including cyber defence, logistics, medical support, and financial management. It will also reach into the ‘back office’ of MOD.”

Based on the operational requirements, the new applications can be made suitable for use in different environments ranging from scenarios, such as natural disasters, and on the battlefield.

"Whilst PREDA will initially provide tailored applications and software to support command and control and decision support in our operational and deployed headquarters, the initiative will have far wider utility."

The modern visualising and automatic software will provide secure, crucial data related to their missions at any location.

The UK Armed Forces will benefit from the battlefield apps as it will allow them to stay ahead of their enemies and effectively combat potential threats.

Williamson said: “From major natural disasters to the frontline on the battlefield, our Armed Forces are quick to react and even quicker to adapt. This technology matches that agility by enabling the creation of specialist digital applications that are tailored, secure and responsive.

“By deploying this technology into the hands of our military, from sailors serving in the Caribbean, to pilots working in the Middle East, we will ensure we have a fighting force fit for the future, equipped with state-of-the-art technology at their fingertips.”

The US Air Force and US Marine Corps have introduced a similar technology as PREDA and are already witnessing benefits from deploying modern software directly in the battlefield.

According to the MOD, the new technology for the battlefield apps is likely to be available by the end of the year to support operations across the world.

The new investment comes after the MOD announced £66m to boost military robotic projects.

–Additional reporting by Talal Husseini.