Britain’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory is partnering with Australian military officials to test a holistic military autonomous system – drones by air, land and sea.
Autonomous Warrior 18 is described by officials as a demonstration of “the command and control of a mixed fleet of unmanned systems covering air, ground, sea surface and underwater vehicles.”
The initiative will focus on battling arms smuggling, mine countermeasures, wide area situation awareness and base protection.
“Autonomous Warrior 18 aims to increase our understanding of autonomous operations, in order to develop our tactics in this area. It’s essential that we maintain the UK’s capability in this area, as well as exploit the innovations being developed,” Dstl project manager Matt Wilkinson said.
The program is part of a wider partnership of scientists, military and industry representatives from Australia, the UK, the U.S., New Zealand and Canada known as the Technical Cooperation Partnership (TTCP) Autonomy Strategic Challenge.
The Dstl will participate in at least three programs:
- The Maritime Autonomous Platform Exploitation (MAPLE) will enable data sourced by drones to be integrated into a ship’s tactical picture display. The system can even be used by smartphone apps.
- The Maritime Autonomy Surface Testbed (MAST) is a British-created vessel capable of reaching high speeds while navigating around the oceans. (sensing other vessels in the immediate vicinity and avoiding them in a safe manner). Various levels of automation can be utilized, from basic remote control up to autonomous route planning and navigation. It is used to test and evaluate new technologies and all aspects of Unmanned Service Vehicle (USV) operation.
- The Configurable Operating Model Policy Automation Control of Task (COMPACT) is an autonomous policy management tool for unmanned systems in complex, dynamic, environments, which enables the safe operation of autonomous systems in an environment that has both manned and unmanned assets.
Ian Campbell, Technical Partner for MAST, said:
“The MAST project is developing an intelligent unmanned surface vehicle (USV) system to understand how these potentially disruptive systems may be best exploited and identify new tactics, techniques and procedures. A key part of the project now is to offer the system as a testbed to allow military users, other government departments, industry and academia to test and evaluate technologies and the use of USV systems in a real-world context.”
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