Technology

British Army Uses Artificial Intelligence On Operation For First Time

The AI technology was used as part of Exercise Spring Storm in Estonia, providing data on the surrounding terrain and environment.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been used by the British Army on an operation for the first time, providing crucial information on the surrounding environment and terrain.

AI technology used vast amounts of data to help personnel during Exercise Spring Storm in Estonia, as part of Operation Cabrit.

Soldiers from the 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade used an AI engine, which, according to the Army, is able to cut through and process vast amounts of complex data by using smart analytics and significant automation.

The Army can then use this efficient data on its surroundings to provide instant planning support for important tasks while also enhancing command and control processes. 

The British Army's Director of Information, Major General John Cole, outlined the benefits of using AI in the field.

Soldiers used an AI engine which provides information on the surrounding environment and terrain (Picture: MOD).

"The deployment was a first of its kind for the Army," he said.

"It's built on close collaboration between the MOD [Ministry of Defence] and industry partners that developed AI specifically designed for the way the Army is trained to operate.

"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."

20th Armoured Infantry Brigade member, Major James Mcevoy, who used the AI, praised the performance of the technology.

"This was a fantastic opportunity to use a new and innovative piece of technology in a deployed environment," he said.

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"The kit was shown to outperform our expectations and has clear applications for improving our level of analysis and speed at which we conduct our planning.

"I'm greatly looking forward to further opportunities to work with this.

"In future, the UK armed forces will increasingly use AI to predict adversaries' behaviour, perform reconnaissance and relay real-time intelligence from the battlefield," he added.

During the annual large-scale NATO exercise, soldiers from France, Denmark, Belgium, Estonia and the UK used the technology whilst carrying out live-fire drills.

Operation Cabrit is the British Army's deployment to Estonia where British troops are leading a multinational battlegroup as part of the alliance's enhanced Forward Presence programme, tightening Euro-Atlantic security on its eastern flank alongside other NATO troops.

In May, the Royal Navy used AI at sea for the first time ever, putting defence science into practice off the Scottish coast.

Cover image: MOD.