Experts from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) participated in the Army Warfighting Experiment (AWE) Sustain and Protect exercise to test new industry technologies at His Majesty’s Naval Base Portsmouth.
Dstl scientists from a wide range of specialist subjects, including sensing, platform survivability, human science, autonomy and power, operated and assessed a variety of technologies such as novel robotics and data fusion.
The purpose of AWE Sustain and Protect is to identify current, emerging and novel technologies from industry partners to inform current and future equipment programs and encourage closer collaboration across government, allies, partners and industry to make the Army more lethal, agile, resilient and persistent.
AWE gets these technologies into the hands of the user and provides the opportunity to develop sufficient evidence to:
- De-risk major concept and equipment programs – by identifying and assessing candidate systems, informing future requirements and investment decisions
- Enhance relationships with industry, partners and allies – through engagement, cooperation and burden-sharing where appropriate
- Accelerate Army transformation – by focused hypotheses, integrating related technology and further exploiting through spiral development and concept capability demonstrators
The Portsmouth exercise is part of the second phase in the AWE Urban series which focuses on how the Army can sustain and protect a Brigade (and below) force in the urban environment through the utilization of intelligent logistics, novel medical extraction and autonomous vehicle extraction.
It also aims to assess the implementation of physical and non-physical barriers which encompass Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-UAS) and counter-cyber and electromagnetic activities to ensure automated platforms are survivable on the modern battlefield from around 2030.
Dstl experts were involved in the down selection of the 159 systems originally submitted by industry against AWE Sustain and Protect specific hypotheses. Throughout the process more than 20 Dstl staff worked closely to support QinetiQ, DE&S and Army Trials and Development Units (TDUs) in their assessments of systems.
Approximately 20 technologies progressed to the final stage, the integrated experimentation assessment, at Portsmouth Naval Base in November 2022. In this simulated live fire event, troops from 2 YORKS and 3 PARA, as well as allied partners from elements of the Dutch Army’s Robotics and Autonomous Systems Unit and the US Army Experimentation Force used the industry technologies in representative platoon level force-on-force urban scenarios.
Staff observed the use of these technologies in the activities, providing feedback to military suppliers and AWE organizers, helping guide the development of future capabilities for Army use in urban operations.
“Dstl is constantly seeking to improve the effectiveness of the UK’s armed forces by identifying and assessing novel technologies,” said Lt Col Arthur Dawe, Commanding Officer, Infantry Trials and Development Unit. “These new technologies will offer operational advantage in a number of areas, such as improved sensing to identify and track adversaries, or through increasing the speed and compatibility of data, enabling commanders to make faster and more impactful decisions.”