During October and November, the 20th Armoured Brigade Combat Team led the British Army’s collaboration with the US and other allies, testing a range of innovative systems in California. Project Convergence is the premier US Army experimentation exercise, seeking to define how the US and international partners, including the UK and Australia, will fight in a multi-domain battlespace.
The UK contribution to Project Convergence is 450 soldiers, testing around 17 cutting-edge systems and technologies, including some being tested for the first time ‘on the ground’. Participation is designed to help make the British Army more lethal on the battlefield, by simplifying and speeding up the ‘sensor-decider-effector’ chain.
As well as testing some of the latest systems, the human capability was also put to the test with the newly-formed Ranger Regiment operating alongside US Special Operations Forces to swap tactics, while 2 YORKS provided reconnaissance and logistical support using their Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) Capability.
Now part of the Land Warfare Centre’s Experimentation & Trials Group, 2 YORKS are testing new variants of the Rheinmetall Missionmaster Unmanned Ground Vehicle, next generation helmet mounted night vision and Dismounted Situational Awareness (DSA). As well as Project Convergence, 2 YORKS were also on Ex CERBERUS in Germany, conducting urban and rural warfare experimentation alongside the validation exercise of 3 (UK) Division’s Brigades and during November, Burma Company will conduct urban experimentation in the unique environment of Portsmouth Docks in the Army Warfighter Experiment.
Project Convergence – An experimentation of many firsts:
- The first time a UK Giraffe Agile Multi-Beam RADAR (Air Defence Sensor forming part of Sky Sabre Medium Range Air Defence) has connected to a US Fire Control Network (normally a US only system).
- The first time UK Rangers have been deployed alongside US Special Operations Forces and the 75th Ranger Regiment on Theatre Entry Exercises – experimenting with the concept of use of the nascent Army Special Operations Brigade and its’ Ranger Regiment.
- The first time ZODIAC, a UK decision support system that can help Commander’s make decisions, has been connected to US ‘sensors’, feeding information into the network.
- The first time a US F35 fighter jet has cued fires for a UK GMLRS missile platform, without the requirement for a person in the loop, cutting the strike time down from minutes to seconds.
- The first time the UK have manufactured US parts using 3D printing, helping them resupply at reach and sharing technical designs of vehicle and weapon parts.
- The first time UK HoloLens (augmented reality lenses) have been used to help sustainers fix equipment supported by a technical expert over extended distance.
- WATCHKEEPER UAS flying operationally in a multi-National construct, tasked by 1st (US) Cavalry Division.
- Command and Control – 20 ABCT TOC utilising the Mission Partner Environment, ZODIAC decision support tool and HoloLens to support decision making.
- The printing of US parts using a UK 3D printer in support of expeditionary logistics, and the sharing of blueprints and data that allows our partners to resupply each other.
- Augmented Reality Forward Repair being used by the UK and US combined to use expertise at reach to help a soldier repair forward.