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Armed Forces: Technology

Question for Ministry of Defence

UIN HL9747, tabled on 20 July 2018

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the potential for unmanned transport systems to supply troops on the front line.

Answered on

1 August 2018

The Defence Scientific and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) is leading the Ministry of Defence's research in this area, working with the US Department of Defense to accelerate and demonstrate the effective use of new robotic and autonomous systems technologies.

This includes the 'Last Mile Challenge' innovation initiative which has challenged industry and academia to look at how delivery drones and resupply robots can provide vital reinforcements to frontline troops. The challenge is worth a total of £3.8 million over the next 12 months with prototypes being built for demonstration later this year. Four of the five successful organisations are British-led with a wide range of sub-contractors from small and medium sized enterprises, industry and academia.

These capabilities and other emerging military technologies will be tested and evaluated at the Autonomous Warrior, Army Warfighting Exercise in November 2018. The exercise, which involves all three Services, DSTL, the US Army and around 50 industry participants, will test a range of research projects including in surveillance, long-range and precision targeting, enhancing mobility and the re-supply of forces, urban warfare and enhanced situational awareness. The lessons identified will support decision making for future investment in ground-breaking technology and innovation to ensure the Army and British industry remain at the cutting edge of technology and combat tactics.