Army Innovation

Exercise Autonomous Warrior

The Experiment

The Army Warfighting Experiment of 2018 was named Exercise Autonomous Warrior. The exercise saw 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) were invited by the British Army to put their equipment in the hands of soldiers.  Working together, the systems were trialled, tweaked and trialled again as the exercise moved toward a final Battlegroup level experiment where the best ideas and products were tested in the toughest of simulated combat environments.


Exercise Autonomous Warrior Exploitation Conference. Look forward to announcements on the Army’s plans for rapid innovation.


5th March 2019


The Science Museum, London


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 was 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).

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

The equipment experimented throughout Autonomous Warrior aimed to enhance:

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




Autonomous Warrior provided 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 included:

  • 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)


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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 was 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