Army Innovation

Exercise Autonomous Warrior

The Experiment

The Army Warfighting Experiment for 2018 is named Exercise Autonomous Warrior.  The exercise will see four weeks of combat trials, experimentation and simulation with prototype unmanned aerial, unmanned ground vehicles and supporting software aimed at reducing the danger to troops during combat. 

About the Experiment

Leading industrial partners in Robotic and Autonomous Systems (RAS) have been invited by the British Army to put their equipment in the hands of soldiers.  Working together, the systems will be trialled, tweaked and trialled again as the exercise moves toward a final Battlegroup level experiment where the best ideas and products will be tested in the toughest of simulated combat environments.


Over 50 robotic, autonomous and supporting systems have made it through the selection process to be exercised on Autonomous Warrior.  Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Unmanned Ground Vehicles will be trialled to measure how they can support surveillance, resupply, command and mobility.     


The exercise will run from 12 November to 12 December 2018.


The exercise will be conducted on Salisbury Plain Training Area (SPTA), Wiltshire, UK  


To match the changing character of conflict, it is vital that the British Army understands how Robotic and Autonomous Systems (RAS) can be used to enhance and shape future capability.  The technical expertise of industry will be given the ultimate testing ground of Salisbury Plain and a British Army Battlegroup to enable innovation, foster collaboration and maintain warfighting edge.


The Army’s Trials and Development Units have worked with Army Headquarters, industry, academia, Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) to develop the experiment. 

Additional support to the experiment has been provided by QinetiQ through the MOD Long Term Partnering Agreement (LTPA).

Beechwood Throwbot.jpg


The Army Warfighting Experiment 2018 programme received 122 initial product submissions.  Approximately 50 products have been selected for the exercise to be put in the hands of soldiers.  

The equipment being experimented throughout Autonomous Warrior aims to enhance:

  • Situational Awareness and Decision Support
  • Movement and Manoeuvre
  • Firepower
  • Force Protection
  • Sustainability




Autonomous Warrior will provide an opportunity for forces to train, operate and innovate together, adapting the tactics and the technology through realistic missions.  An ongoing relationship with the US ensures we welcome the US Army to partake in the exercise. The forces involved include:

  • Royal Tank Regiment Battlegroup Headquarters (BGHQ)
  • 3 Rifles
  • Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
  • 32nd Regiment Royal Artillery
  • 33 Engineer Regiment (EOD&S)
  • 42 Commando
  • Force elements from the RAF
  • US Army Experimental Force Platoon (1-29 Infantry)


PUMA 2, Unknown Personnel in attendance at visitor day.jpg


The data collected during this experiment will be used to test hypotheses and to report near and longer term viability of candidate concepts and the utility of the individual equipment. Throughout the exercise, enhancing capability will be at the forefront of all efforts.  Specifically how Robotic and Autonomous Systems could:

  • Enable effective break into urban operations
  • Support wide area surveillance and targeting
  • Enable dispersed forces through enhanced Situational Awareness
  • Reduce own force vulnerability to UAS targeting
  • Improve tempo by enhancing mobility and counter mobility
  • Enable agile Command and Control of dispersed forces
  • Improve the effectiveness of Combat Service Support