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Army Champions Innovation With Extra £22million Funding

Funding for British Army Innovation Team is to be bolstered by more than £22million as one part of Future Soldier, the Army’s transformation plan.

New funding, set at approximately £25million, will see the Army invest further in projects across the people, process and technology areas, to develop equipment and people ready for the future battlefield. Its focus will be those areas that are both new and novel to Defence and the team in being encouraged to embrace risk in its approach.

The funding comes as the British Army prepares for The RUSI Land warfare conference, the annual UK meeting of the British Army, it’s international partners and allies, and the Defence industry.

This year’s theme is ‘integrated for operation today and warfighting tomorrow,’ and will look at warfighting on the future battlefield.

The conference features a session dedicated to ‘warfighting on the future battlefield’ with panellists drawn from an international field, including senior military and academic experts.

Future Soldier sets out how the Army will fight and win modern conflicts. Data and technology will be used more and more in conflict, with robotic and autonomous vehicles – such as drones –used by us and by our enemies.

This will increasingly reduce the number of people engaged in the front line and render legacy capabilities obsolete ever-more rapidly. 

Central to the Army’s innovation for the future battlefield is the recently announced Defence BattleLab, in Dorset. The BattleLab, a pan-Defence initiative, is focused on closing the loop between the end user and both traditional and non-traditional Defence industry.

The BattleLab has an engineering workshop, areas for collaboration, conference rooms, and other dedicated spaces. The facility will hold regular ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitching sessions, industry showcases and focused challenges, allowing the British Army to work closely with industry to make sure the it has access to the latest technology quickly.

The Defence BattleLab will work closely with ARIEL, the Army Research, Innovation, Experimentation Laboratory, to bring new concepts into use. ARIEL alone currently has 65 projects ongoing worth £35 million.

Brigadier Matt Cansdale, Head of Future Force Design for the Army, said:

“The Defence BattleLab will offer the Army and other Defence users its first true ‘Dedicated Innovation, Experimentation, Exploitation Centre’ An open innovation and collaboration environment, both physical and virtual, where tactics and technology combine to drive operational advantage, now and for the future.

“The BattleLab will be trusted to solve people, process and technology challenges throughout the organisation at a pace that is relevant.

“Events like the RUSI one will give us an opportunity to think about some of the concepts behind the future work of the BattleLab and ARIEL.”