During the event, international and UK scientists and engineers tested technologies that have the potential ability to find enemy forces in built environments. The new equipment was evaluated alongside a host of futuristic technologies by servicemen of the 1st Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Brigade, 1st Battalion The Rifles and 1st Artillery Brigade, in selected areas of the streets of Portsmouth and its naval base.
The British armed forces are already training and fighting urban warfare, but this kind of experimentation is essential to understanding and adapting to the changing combat environment. There are many challenges in finding and managing threats, such as those encountered when operating in and around dense, tall buildings and in modern urban areas or “smart cities”, and with differences in culture and language. .
Processor Dame Angela McLean, MOD Chief Advisor, said:
It was impressive to see the CUE21 experience in action – testing this kind of technology is absolutely vital to better equip our armed forces. Collaboration with our allies allows us to share technical knowledge to fight together the battles of the future.
The Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is at the forefront of testing new technologies in collaboration with industry and academia, as well as with their “5 eyes” partners: Canada, United States, New Zealand and Australia. Born from the Technical Cooperation Program (TTCP), the 5 partner countries are testing new technologies that seek to help our forces when operating in urban environments, including:
Highly distributed autonomous sensors that harness 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 to detect unmanned aerial vehicles used in urban settings
understand the city environment and the interactions of natural and human systems
technologies that support soldiers operating in dense urban terrain by supporting navigation, threat detection
robotic and autonomous systems to support logistics replenishment to deliver on the front line
evacuation and treatment of injured people optimized for the complexity of an urban environment
The capabilities were tested through a combination of field experimentation and analytical techniques. The field experience at Portsmouth was based on a scenario that involved particular military capabilities that could be enhanced by science and technology (S&T).
Christopher Briggs, Dstl Country Manager for CUE, said:
This is an opportunity for science and technology to have a major impact on urban military capability, as well as to enhance our mutual trust with our closest allies. Current thinking about future conflicts has been used to generate scenarios that show the challenges of urban operations against a range of potential enemies.
The first Contested Urban Environment (CUE) experiment took place in November 2017 in Adelaide, Australia, the second took place in September 2018 in Montreal, Canada, and the most recent event took place in New York, Australia. United States, July 2019. Technology tested then and during the Portsmouth event could be made available to military personnel by 2025.