Innovation and experimentation will be at the heart of a modernised British Army, with an expanded relationship with defence industry and its first Land Industrial Strategy. It comes as the British Army implements its most radical transformation programme in over 20 years, called Future Soldier.
Whilst remaining focused on providing a lethal warfighting capability, the Army will also adapt to counter new and evolving global threats, and to compete successfully in the grey-zone between peace and war. This will be achieved through investing heavily in innovation and experimentation, alongside a greater understanding of sustainability and environmental impact.
The ‘British Army Battle Lab’ will open in 2022 and represents a significant push by the Army to invest and collaborate with partners and industry. It will offer a unique opportunity for prime contractors, small and medium-sized enterprises, non-traditional organisations, and academia to engage and collaborate directly with the Ministry of Defence. This will enable the early adoption of next generation capabilities for the Army.
The ‘British Army BattleLab’ is part of a joint environment innovation hub known as Defence BattleLab. This will be a physical and virtual network, providing space for companies to rent desks, co-located with each other in a diverse environment, and take part in collaborative events focused on solving the soldier’s problem sets. This diversity and collaboration will drive the innovation that is needed to transform.
Land Industrial Strategy
The British Army has produced its first land sector-specific industrial strategy, called the Land Industrial Strategy (LIS). This aims to strengthen the relationship with the Defence industry and unlock the potential of innovation and development. For our personnel on the ground, the LIS will ensure the Army has the kit it needs when needed.
Experimentation and Trials Groups
An Experimentation and Trials Group will be established in 2022 and will drive innovation and competitiveness from within the force.
Built around 2nd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment and the specialist trials and development units, it will lead on trialling new technologies and integrating them into the way that the Army fights and operates.
Digitalisation offers the Army significant opportunities to perform its role more efficiently, more effectively and with better integration with our partners. Future Soldier will see the Army become a modernised force, embracing new technology and rapid technological change.
Over the next 10 years, the entirely of the Army’s deployable digital system will be modernised, including a world-leading Army Cyber and Electromagnetic Activities capability. This will work alongside significant investment in the security of the Army’s data and digital capabilities.
Future Soldier is not just about innovation, it is about changing the way the British Army thinks about sustainability. Understanding and accounting for the impact which environmental change has on its world, operations, and security.
The Army will seek to use technological solutions which contribute to the UK’s goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, whilst also helping to reduce some drivers of conflict and resulting in a more effective and greener Army.
Under a programme called MERCURY, the Army is looking forward to the capabilities required in 2035 and beyond. This will be focused on using lower carbon technologies of the future to enhance our operational and strategic advantage. This includes a vision for an electrically powered force and the use of robotics and advanced AI.