16 Feb 2017

Exercise Information Warrior

This spring will see Government, Royal Navy and industry collaborate in Exercise Information Warrior ’17.

The Royal Navy-led exercise is designed to test and develop an innovative range of Information Warfare Capabilities. Building on last year’s successful Unmanned Warrior Exercise, the exercise will be integrated into the Royal Navy’s first big exercise of the year, Joint Warrior ’17.

Exercise Information Warrior focuses on how information can transform a battlefield, with both offensive and defensive cyber operations, Influence Operations and Artificial Intelligence (AI), to give the UK an advantage over its opponents.

Dstl is working with programme partners to develop smaller, more agile and user-friendly secure communications. Designed to deliver greater situational awareness, the Royal Marines will put Project X system to the test during the exercise to ensure that it allows their command to communicate effectively with troops on the ground.

Further tests will be carried out on Dstl’s Open Architecture Combat System (OACS), which underpinned much of the success of Unmanned Warrior 16.The enabling technology, that makes it easier for new to be integrated into ships’ combat systems will be used during Information Warrior to allow artificial intelligence applications such as STARTLE to be deployed.

There are five main themes of Exercise Information Warrior 17:

  • AI – developing an AI ‘ship’s brain’ will enable the fleet to operate more effectively. STARTLE is an AI technology which will help operators identify potential threats in seconds. While other systems to be tested will help to enhance imagery from UAVs, enabling better support of landing forces.
  • C4 – developing the most efficient and comprehensive computer system possible for the Navy
  • IX – using Adaptive Tactical Information eXploitation (ATIX) and Every Platform A Sensor (EPAS) projects, data from all available sources can be processed and applying data analytics, machine learning and statistics will improve the commanders’ understanding of complex situations. This enables them to make more effective decisions.
  • CEMA – offensive and defensive cyber operations to protect our nation’s interests. Dstl’s technical experts are supporting the RN to ensure that its forces are secure and resilient to cyber threats, in accordance with the national cyber security strategy.
  • ISR – building the intelligence picture with unmanned systems to further enhance our commander’s decisions.

Discussing Information Warrior, Dstl’s Chief Executive, Jonathan Lyle, said: “Information has transformed the face of conflict.  Dstl is excited to be part of the Royal Navy’s Information Warrior exercise – in which our scientists will be demonstrating and testing some of the latest innovations in cyber, information systems, Big Data and artificial intelligence research.”

Colonel Dan Cheesman Royal Marines, the Project Director, said: “The pace and scale of technological change in the world today is breath-taking. The Royal Navy is no less affected than anyone else by the challenges of cheap, smartphone computing power with high-grade encryption.  And more is coming in the Internet of Things. Artificial Intelligence, robotics, automation and quantum computing are all future uncertainties. As a result, the Royal Navy, priding itself on its long history of world-leading innovation, is focused on the implications for maritime and littoral warfare in the Information Age.”

Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord, said: “We are living in a data-driven age in which our adversaries are exploiting the potential of Information Warfare, and we must respond in kind. The Royal Navy stands ready to lead the charge in the information domain, just as we do at sea, from the sea and in the air over the sea.  

“Exercise Information Warrior will push the boundaries of innovation, by introducing cyber, information exploitation and artificial intelligence into the UK’s most important multi-national maritime exercise, Joint Warrior. We want to bring new skills and capabilities into service quickly, but also forge lasting relationships with industry and academia. Our aim is to establish the Royal Navy as the leading advocate, innovator and practitioner of Information Warfare, both within UK Defence, and also with our key international partners.”

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