Technology

Exercise Dynamic Warrior: Soldiers test out latest cutting-edge equipment

Around 30 products have been put into the hands of soldiers for the first time.

The future of Army training has been put to the test at Copehill Down training facility on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire.

Around 30 cutting edge products, designed by 17 industry partners, have been put into the hands of soldiers for the first-time during Exercise Dynamic Warrior.

The kit is designed to make training more effective.

The Exercise is the Army’s annual experimentation exercise which field tests innovative technology designed by industry. 

It includes realistic enemy vehicles to glasses which collect data from the eyes.

The glasses have tiny cameras on the inside which not only give a live feed, but they also measure pupil diameter and blink rate, indicating stress levels and cognitive load.

That tells the Commander a lot about the way the soldier is functioning on exercise, such as whether they’re concentrating, stressed or tired.

Soldiers can practice driving, loading and firing a Challenger 3 tank using portable simulators.

The data helps individual soldiers perform better and means the exercise can then be adapted to give the best training value.

Lance Corporal Joshua Dowding, 5 RIFLES told Forces News: "It's different, especially as a lot of us don't wear glasses at all. 

"It's nice to see the 'afterwards' of it all 

"You can see whether people are looking towards the enemy threat or they're just not bothered and just chilling out in the corner kind of thing, so that's pretty good."

Mikaela Green, Group Head of Training Capability at Babcock added that soldiers "want to see a visual playback". 

"It allows us to speed up that learning loop when they can see it themselves. 

"No one really likes being told they didn't do something very well so they can see it and feel it themselves."

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Currently, troops use their own vehicles - Warriors or dressed up Land Rovers.

This year, Exercise Dynamic Warrior also experimented with an off-the-shelf Hilux, covered with a skin to look like a Russian-made fighting vehicle.

Anthony Pittman from Babcock Land said that “by having a replica armoured vehicle, we're able to add realism to the environment. 

"It would move around and it would be used in both an attack situation or a defence situation, or in a reconnaissance role."

The vehicle can be dressed up in a variety of skins, to simulate a range of realistic enemy vehicles which can be driven around the exercise area, mimicking enemy formations and tactics.

In a different area of training, portable simulators were being used.

Soldiers were able to practice driving, loading and firing a Challenger 3 tank.

This simulator is robust and fits into a series of pelican cases so it could be taken anywhere.

A deck of cards that are linked to a game online to aid soldiers' learning.

Lance Corporal Simon Tandy from the Queens Royal Hussars told Forces News it was a "massively" useful training tool.

"The first few times is a little disorientating but you adjust quite quickly.

"It's very enjoyable. It draws you in a lot as well. It's a very bizarre feeling."

The defence technology industry have also been developing training tools for soldiers to use in their down time on camp.

One of which is a simple deck of cards.

Matt Johnston from Babcock International explained "we've got lots of different equipment in there, and as they're playing games, you can play all sorts of different card games. 

"You’re just learning by absorption. 

"If they scan the QR code there, it links through to an online game as well. 

"All the while they don't realize they're learning. 

"It's just a bit of fun for them."