The UK Government has launched a science and technology strategy for defence that will facilitate innovation and help the armed forces to be better equipped to face future challenges.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) Science and Technology Strategy 2020 strategy was launched by UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace along with chief scientific adviser Dame Angela McLean.

Specifically, the strategy seeks to maintain a scientific advantage over adversaries by prioritising investment and adopting a challenge-led approach to shape new technologies, applications and necessary expertise.

The MoD plans to collaborate effectively and pursue promising technologies that have significant potentiality to be integrated into military capability.

Secretary Wallace said: “We are in a very real race with our adversaries for technological advantage. What we do today will lay the groundwork for decades to come. Proliferation of new technologies demands our science and technology is threat driven and better aligned to our needs in the future.”

The strategy was launched against a backdrop of futuristic autonomous military kit that includes palm-sized unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), remotely operated crewless all-terrain surveillance vehicles and the new AJAX vehicle.

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McLean said: “We need a clear focus on what we want science and technology to achieve. I will champion a challenge-led approach, based on trends across science, technology and the military, to set out what we need to be able to do in the future and how we can build towards it through our S&T activity.”

Notably, the Army Warfighting Experiment, a programme that tests new military technologies, will exhibit some of the latest British-built innovations this week.

Last month, the UK conducted a two-week-long exercise on Salisbury Plain to assess the effectiveness of futuristic technologies.