British forces have conducted an urban military experiment, known as the Contested Urban Environment exercise.
The Ministry of Defence say here that during the event international and British scientists and engineers tested technologies that have the potential capability to find enemy forces in built up environments.
“The novel equipment was assessed alongside a whole host of futuristic technology by military personnel from 1 Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Brigade, 1st Battalion The Rifles and 1 Artillery Brigade, in selected areas on the streets of Portsmouth and its Naval Base. The UK Armed Forces already train for and conduct urban warfare, but this type of experimentation is vital to understand and adapt to the changing warfighting environment. There are many challenges to finding and dealing with threats, such as those experienced when operating in and around dense, tall buildings and within modern urban areas or ‘smart cities’, and with differences of culture and language.”
Professor Dame Angela McLean, MOD Chief Adviser said:
“It was impressive to see the CUE21 experiment in action – testing this kind of technology is absolutely vital to better equip our Armed Forces. The collaboration with our allies means we are able to share technical knowledge to fight the battles of the future together.”
The UK and its ‘5-eyes’ partners: Canada, the USA, New Zealand and Australia are jointly working on this with industry and academia. Born out of The Technical Cooperation Programme, the 5 partner nations are testing novel technologies that seek to help our forces when operating in urban environments, including:
- highly distributed autonomous sensors that exploit artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to identify threats
- advanced technologies to support intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance activities on the ground, in the air and at sea
- advanced sensors and technologies for detecting uncrewed air vehicles used in urban environments
- understanding the city environment and the interactions of natural and human systems
- technologies that support soldiers operating in dense urban terrain by supporting navigation, detection of threats
- robotic and autonomous systems to support logistics re-supply to deliver to the frontline
- casualty evacuation and handling optimised for the complexity of an urban environment