09 Sep 2019

Royal Navy engineers design tech of the future

Royal Navy engineers have designed a possible mid-21st-century assault by Royal Marines featuring emerging defence innovations.

A potential future assault by Royal Marines was planned by Royal Navy engineers incorporating technology such as AI, exoskeletons, and ‘invisible commandos’. Graduates from the UK Naval Engineering Science and Technology (UKNEST) Forum were asked to create an assault plan on an enemy missile site on a clifftop.

The engineers planned the assault at the Commando’s Training Centre at Lympstone to help them understand the gear currently used in similar operations. The graduates looked at how Marines would neutralise a target, distract the enemy, and the challenges they would face.

Major Matt Perks said: “This was one of those inspiring projects that captured peoples’ imagination.  The Royal Marines have always prided themselves on thinking differently, but we know we don’t have all the answers when it comes to designing the Future Commando Force, so working with these incredibly talented young engineers was a chance to push the conceptual boundaries of amphibious warfare in ways we hadn’t considered.  The results have been spectacularly innovative.”

Engineers included technology such as:

  • Exo-skeleton suits
  • Ekranoplan ‘flying wings’ replacing landing craft
  • ‘Holographic Marines’ to decoy the enemy
  • Helmets with displays providing Marines with the latest intelligence, battlefield info and details of a squad’s health and fitness levels
  • Small intelligence drone
  • Larger ‘grunt’ drones capable of firepower or dropping ammunition, supplies and even small vehicles
  • Electro-magnetic rail guns on ships firing Marines in special pods to land covertly behind enemy lines
  • Boots which harvest energy as the commandos move to power radios and other equipment
  • Rucksacks attached using magnets and fitted with energy damping to reduce the burden when marching
  • Portable 3D printers producing food in the field
  • And sleeping mats which can double up as 80in tactical display screens or solar panels to power hi-tech kit.

Engineers came up with a number of designs for new technology including drones and advanced exoskeletons. It is unknown which designs could be put into regular use in the future but technology such as advanced drones and 3D printers are being explored by the MOD.

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