The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has unveiled a transformed approach to harnessing innovation and developing emerging technologies.
The new Defence Technology Framework (DTF) and Defence Innovation Priorities (DIP), approach includes the use of several concepts, including artificial intelligence and 3D printing.
DTF sets out defence’s evaluation of strategic technologies that will drive modernisation and deliver future battle-winning capabilities for the UK Armed Forces.
Through DIP, the MoD is looking for ideas and opportunities in unconventional places and in unanticipated relationships.
The MoD said the seven families of technology, from artificial intelligence and advanced materials to energy storage and cutting-edge sensors, have the potential to revolutionise defence and will shape collaboration with international partners, as well as the country’s academic and industrial base.
Space tracking and communications, enhanced intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), cyber defence, 3D printing, and automated logistics are the potential applications.
The MoD outlined five priority areas for collaboration with the civil sector, including how the MoD can access the people with the right skills, knowledge and experience and how it represents future battlespace complexity and greater levels of integration in training, combat and experimentation.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Our transformed approach to using and procuring technology will not only help us secure our military advantage, but will help drive prosperity and create jobs across the country.”
Recently, the MoD has made a series of investments intended at harnessing the potential of the UK’s scientific and industrial base.
The Transformation Fund, which was unveiled as part of the Modernising Defence Programme, will invest £160m on fast-tracking new military capabilities onto the frontline.
Some of the projects that have already secured funding include blood clotting technology to save lives on the battlefield and two new autonomous minehunter vessels that will give the Royal Navy more flexibility in the underwater threats and ensure sailors safety.
The MoD has already invested over £100m on innovation, including from the Defence Innovation Fund, primarily for small and medium-sized enterprises, in programmes in the non-military sector, which is expected to have a transformative effect in defence.