British Army, Royal Logistic Corps EOD Wheelbarrow Mk8b Bomb Disposal Robot (Crown Copyright, 2002)

Focus on Robotics for Army Warfighting Experiment

Robotics and Autonomous Systems on the Agenda for AWE 18

The new Head Future Force Development within the British Army’s Capability Directorate, Brigadier Rob Sergeant, outlined his plans for the Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS)-focused capstone experimentation event in Autumn 2018 which is part of the Army Warfighting Experiment (AWE) series.

Autonomous Warrior (Land)

Entitled Autonomous Warrior (Land), AWE 2018 will be a focused study and experimentation into how RAS technologies can be exploited in the Land Environment.  It has already benefitted from a more collaborative development approach with the other Services and industry.  As a multinational event, Autonomous Warrior will bring together a number of existing and new experimentation and research strands into a single overarching event to inform the Army’s conceptual development and its future RAS strategy.

Brigadier Sergeant Highlights Cross-Capability

Speaking at DSEI 17, Brigadier Sergeant gave inside details of the event, including the cross-capability themes that will drive the experiment’s design and how operational users from the UK and our allies will play a major role in shaping concepts of operation and collaborative development pathways with industry.

Brigadier Sergeant also took the opportunity to brief on progress in establishing the new Future Force Development branch within Army HQ and his aspirations for the team, showing how he was drawing on his recent experience as Commander 12th Armoured Infantry Brigade.

The British Army is seeking to enhance its capabilities and to modernize along with the new emerging technologies. The MOD has identified 5 priorities in the development of RAS: Sustainability, Manoeuvrability, Situational Awareness, Lethality and Survivability.

The Army Warfighting Experiment (AWE) will kick off in Autumn 2018, seeking to “connect industry technology providers with Army front line units” and to “draw on the successful models offered by the AWE and Unmanned Warrior” (Royal Navy equivalent).

Featured Image: The Royal Logistic Corps EOD team remotely detonated a suspect explosive device using the Wheelbarrow Mk8b Bomb Disposal Robot. British troops were deployed in Afghanistan on Operation Fingal under the auspices of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). The mission was to assist the interim administration with security and stability. Wheelbarrow is the bomb disposal operator’s remote eyes and hands. Able to cross almost any terrain at a speed of up to 6 mph, the “barrow” can climb stairs and with an all up weight of 300kg, is more than capable of pushing a saloon car with its brakes applied. Equipped with a wide selection of disruptor weapons Wheelbarrow is always used where possible to recce and render safe potential bombs rather than expose the operator to a potentially lethal explosion. (Crown Copyright, 2002)