The British Army wants to understand future requirements for the defence of artillery positions.
Current practice requires soldiers to surveil ground in the vicinity of artillery positions to protect from adversarial intrusion and attack, “increasing workload and cognitive burden”.
According to the contract notice, it is hypothesized that Remote Piloted and Autonomous (RPAS) Systems with sensory suites and AI could reduce this burden and increase combat effectiveness.
According to the notice:
“Successful applicants should be prepared to conduct experimentation with 1 Artillery Brigade on Salisbury Plains in the window 10-18 September 2021 (duration likely to be 3 days). Likely tasks includes OEM operating experimental system in a representative warfighting environment against an active enemy force, briefing soldiers on use and possibly enabling limited supervised use, assisting 1 Artillery Brigade with developing Concepts of Use (CONUSE) and Concepts of Employment (CONEMP) for RPAS to inform future capability requirements.”
The contract notice also goes on to explain how the system could look:
“RPAS systems for consideration could be ground-based (including unmanned ground sensors) or aerial but must be small and agile enough to be deployed from eg ¼ tonne trailer.
The system must be remote or autonomously controlled; must have a sensory suite, ideally modular and interchangeable by the operator; must be able to collect data from at least one spectrum, ideally from the visible or near-visible spectrum, and ideally use AI to process the collected data; must operate as part of a digital network, ideally able to distribute collected data to multiple users others than the operator eg via ATAK; must be capable of operating in adverse weather conditions, ideally in all weather conditions; must be able to operate day and night; must have duration greater than 1 hour on task.”
1st Artillery Brigade commands the majority of the British Army’s Close Support Artillery Regiments and provides special-to-arm oversight for the two Very High Readiness regiments in the Air Assault and Commando Brigades.
The brigade operates a number of light artillery guns and of coruse heavier equiment such as the AS90 and MLRS systems.