The British Army is launching a trail-blazing Experimentation Battlegroup which will pit soldiers, new equipment, technology and tactics against the hybrid and conventional threats posed by terrorist, proxy and state adversaries.
The unit will sit at the vanguard of the Army’s approach to prototype warfare and develop capabilities to be tested on exercises and operations.
By ‘supercharging’ experimentation with revolutionary technology and techniques, it will help drive innovation into the heart of the Army’s warfighting preparations.
The unit will draw on troops from the Yorkshire Regiment and will include the creation of a multi-domain opposing force (OPFOR). Prototype warfare concepts will be developed for testing on exercises and future operations, mimicking the pace and intensity of transformation on the battlefield.
The battalion will lead in trialling technology, tactics and techniques and their integration into the way soldiers operate and fight. Troops and equipment will be pushed to their limits, driving transformation and ensuring the Army can get ahead of the ever-changing threats. They will use cutting-edge experimentation and will sit on the cusp of the military/industrial interface.
With every great advance in technology comes an advance in the way we fight Minster for the Armed Forces
The new warfighting unit follows hot on the heels of the Integrated Review, the most comprehensive approach to defence, foreign and national security by a British Government in decades.
Under the ‘Future Soldier’ aspect of the Integrated Review, the Army will modernise to become more agile, more integrated, more expeditionary and more lethal, ready to meet both future and existing challenges.
Minister for the Armed Forces, James Heappey, said: “With every great advance in technology comes an advance in the way we fight. The British Army has a proud tradition of experimenting and innovating with new technologies during each of the previous industrial revolutions.
“As we enter this new age of big data, automation and artificial intelligence, it’s important that the new Experimentation Battlegroup will be able to build on that tradition and integrate these latest advances into our force structures, equipment requirements and tactics.”
The new organisation will draw on the heritage of previous experimental units during earlier industrial revolutions. These include the Experimental Corps of Riflemen in the Napoleonic Campaign who introduced rifles, sharpshooting and skirmishing tactics, and the Experimental Mechanised Force formed in 1927 to investigate and develop the techniques and equipment required for armoured warfare.
2 YORKS already spearheads the Army’s Enhanced Light Force Battalion concept, part of a £120 million three-year programme that is transforming how Future Soldiers in the light infantry role will operate and fight.