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Infantry soldiers trial future of frontline warfare

Members of 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (2 YORKS) have been testing innovative new Uncrewed Air Systems (UAS) and rifle mounted thermal imaging sights.

The training to develop credible tactics for their use will result in 2 YORKS producing a new Tactics Techniques & Procedures (TTPs) booklet for the Field Army, explaining how to tactically employ a variety of uncrewed systems.

The drones will be used by the British Army for Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) on the front line.

The Parrot Anafi weighs in at less than 500g, can be carried in a backpack and allows a Platoon Commander imaging capability in a variety of environments.

The training also incorporated an even smaller drone which give Sections the ability to reach out over a kilometre, see over obstacles and patrol areas of interest.   

As well as being equipped with standard cameras, the drones carry thermal imaging cameras enabling personnel to see through soft cover such as tree canopies and vegetation, as well as identify entry points of buildings, plus night vision cameras. They can also carry grenades controlled remotely by a soldier.

The overall objective is to remain more deadly than our enemies." Lieutenant Michael Chattaway

Lieutenant Michael Chattaway, Platoon Commander, said: “As part of the Experimentation Trials Group, we’re taking new to service equipment and learning how to fight with it before pushing it out to the rest of the Army. 

“The overall objective is to remain more deadly than our enemies. The drones can help us massively because it can give the leading commander on the ground much greater situational awareness. They don’t need to be situated with that drone team. Instead, they can be pushed far forward and focus on the battle but still have that feed of information from a dedicated UAS team.

“Fighting at night has always been hard. You have limited situational awareness. The drones are providing greatly improved oversight and enable us to track our own and enemy positions.”

The platoon has also been working with the Thermal Clip-On Sight, known as TCOS, which is mounted on their helmet. This allows infantry soldiers to see a combined thermal and night vision picture while undertaking activities rather than having to stop and look through a weapon sight.

It’s a real game changer." Lieutenant Michael Chattaway

Lieutenant Chattaway said: “The night vision sights are 1,000 times better than what we have used previously. It’s a real game changer.” 

Private Joseph Thompson added: “Thermal is how wars are fought now. Being able to see through places you normally couldn’t, being able to ping enemy positions from kilometres away gets us in front of the enemy. If we can see them before they can see us, we can manoeuvre or even engage without them even knowing we’re there.”