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The Experimentation and Trials Group lead the way for the next generation

As the world adapts and changes to new technologies and the possibilities that they offer, the need for adaptation and evolution is also especially important to the Armed Forces of today.

The nature of warfare is as much about what happens in the cyber sphere and the laboratory as it is on the battlefield. Today’s warriors are as likely to be sat behind a computer screen as they are to be jumping out of an aircraft.

With this in mind, all these new and emerging technologies and the possibilities they offer need time and space to iron out the kinks and figure out the most effective use.

This is where the newly formed Experimentation and Trials Group (ETG) comes in. With the Army’s Trials and Development Units under its command and with a dedicated Experimentation Battalion (2nd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment) which will be known as the Next Generation Combat Team (NGCT) coming under command from September 2022, the ETG has been created to experiment, trial and develop new and emerging capabilities to accelerate the journey into the hands of our personnel.

The ETG is now a vital cog in the Army’s Future Soldier programme which aims to ensure that our personnel can counter new and evolving global threats and compete successfully across the spectrum of conflict, above and below the threshold.

The excellent work conducted by the Trials and Development Units now continues under the direction of the ETG. Of the roughly 160 trials that have been delivered in the last 12 months, one has focussed on the issue of over reliance by the UK Armed Forces on the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) system.

GPS connectivity has become assumed in everyday life - the satellite-based navigation system developed initially by the US Armed Forces has enabled a whole host of military capabilities to be developed as well as guiding us to the nearest chippy. GPS is of particular use when using smart ordinance to ensure the accurate and precise targeting of enemy forces and to co-ordinate forces locations on the battlefield. If the system were to be compromised our ability to operate could be reduced.  

One of the ETG major trials, ATLAS, will give our Armed Forces the edge even in that scenario.

A jointly funded project between the MOD and Horiba MIRA, it explored the possibility of an alternative navigation system comparable to the Global Positioning System (GPS). This was to be on a large tracked armoured vehicle and allow for autonomous control. The Terrier offered an ideal platform due to its ability to be remote controlled.