Artificial Intelligence used on Army operation for the first time

The Challenger 3 main battle tank. Image: MoD

The British Army has used Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the first time during Exercise Spring Storm, as part of Operation Cabrit in Estonia.

Soldiers from the 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade used an AI engine which provides information on the surrounding environment and terrain.

Through the development of significant automation and smart analytics, the engine is able to rapidly cut through masses of complex data. Providing efficient information regarding the environment and terrain, it enables the Army to plan its appropriate activity and outputs.

“The deployment was a first of its kind for the Army. It built on close collaboration between the MOD and industry partners that developed AI specifically designed for the way the Army is trained to operate,” said Major General John Cole, the Army’s Director of Information.

“The lessons this has provided are considerable, not just in terms of our support to deployed forces, but more broadly in how we inform Defence’s digital transformation agenda and the best practices we must adopt to integrate and exploit leading-edge technologies.

“This AI capability, which can be hosted in the cloud or operate in independent mode, saved significant time and effort, providing soldiers with instant planning support and enhancing command and control processes,” he added.

Announced by last November, Defence has received an increase in funding of over £24 billion across the next four years, focusing on the ability to adapt to meet future threats. The MoD intends to invest £6.6billion over the next four years in defence research and development, focusing on emerging technologies in artificial intelligence, AI-enabled autonomous systems, cyber, space and directed energy systems.

Operation Cabrit is the British Army’s deployment to Estonia where British troops are leading a multinational battlegroup as part of the enhanced Forward Presence.

Artificial Intelligence has already been incorporated in a number of key military initiatives, including the Future Combat Air System, and is the focus of several innovative funding programmes through the Defence and Security Accelerator.


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Written by

Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.

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