21 Jun 2018

Head of British Army urges UK to “push the limits of innovative warfare”

The new Head of British Army has called for the UK to “push the limits of innovative warfare” at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) Land Warfare conference.

General Mark Carleton-Smith was addressing the conference as Autonomous Warrior – the 2018 Army Warfighting Experiment – was launched and warned the military exercise would be carried out against a “darkening geo-political picture”.

Autonomous Warrior will test a range of prototype unmanned aerial and ground cargo vehicles, which aim to reduce the danger to troops during combat.

The British Army is set to launch the four-week exercise on November 12, with a Battlegroup from 1 Armed Infantry brigade providing the exercising troops and taking responsibility of command and control.

British soldiers will test and evaluate the effectiveness of robotic and autonomous systems (RAS) on the battlefield.

These technological advances will play a key role in the Army’s Strike capability, ensuring our forces remain unmatched on the global stage.

One of the key areas it is set to test is the autonomous last mile resupply. The ‘last mile’, which represents the extremely dangerous final approach to the combat zone, is crucial to ensuring soldiers have the food, fuel and ammunition to keep them alive.

In addition, Autonomous Warrior will also develop capabilities in surveillance which will greatly improve the effectiveness of long-range and precision targeting by service personnel.

The exercise is the result of a large collaboration between the British Army, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, US Army, MOD, Dstl and around 50 industry participants.

Gen Mark Carleton-Smith told the audience: “We need a more proactive, threat-based approach to our capability planning, including placing some big bets on those technologies that we judge may offer exponential advantage because given the pace of the race, to fall behind today is to cede an almost unquantifiable advantage from which it might be impossible to recover.”

image © Crown Copyright

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