Ranger Regiment troops trial new cutting-edge battlefield kit with US Special Operations Forces

The British Army's elite Ranger Regiment has deployed alongside US Special Operations Forces, putting new battlefield equipment to the test.

Allies from the UK, US and Australia used cutting-edge battlefield technology to demonstrate future fighting capabilities in California's Mojave desert.

The Rangers, stood up almost a year ago, are at the heart of the Army's new Special Operations Brigade and are capable of carrying out roles usually conducted by Special Forces personnel.

The Rangers were working with the Special Operations Forces and US 75th Ranger Regiment to explore the deployment and use of the British Army's Special Operations Brigade and Ranger Regiment.

Watch: Ranger Regiment, the Army's radical future soldiers.

Project Convergence 2022, at Fort Irwin, examined how artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and autonomy can improve battlefield situational awareness by connecting sensors and shooters to accelerate decision-making speeds.

Around 300 technologies were trialled, including long-range fires, uncrewed aerial systems, autonomous fighting vehicles and next-generation sensors.

Four hundred and fifty British personnel – including those from the Experimentation and Trials Group – took part in the testing, supported by more than 20 scientists and engineers from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory.

Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Sharon Nesmith, told Forces News modernisation is at "the heart" of the Army's future soldier programme – the most radical transformation programme for the service in more than 20 years. 

"We want to be more lethal, more agile and more expeditionary and we know that we need to do that alongside our allies.

"Project Convergence is a brilliant opportunity for us to work alongside our allies, [and] learn from each other about how to modernise on the battlefield."

UK Rangers Chinooks alongside US Special Operations Forces first time, California Mojave Desert 10112022 CREDIT MOD
UK Rangers Chinooks in the Californian Mojave Desert (Picture: MOD).

Project Convergence 2022, at Fort Irwin, has also seen the Ranger Regiment explore how best the Special Operations Brigade could be used in multi-national operations.

Captain Ollie Dean, 4 Ranger, said the deployment had been a "real success".

"Firstly, we proved we could work alongside 7th (Special Forces) Group as a Nato ally that could offer exactly the same as them. 

"And equally, it answered a lot of our questions we were looking for in what we can offer to the British Army moving forward in terms of large-scale combat operations."

Defence Procurement Minister Alex Chalk was in California to see Project Convergence in action and vowed "we will fight for the absolute best settlement" ahead of the autumn budget announcement.

"We'll be making the point, 'look, there is no economic security without national security'.

"Having expensive, but lethal, Armed Forces not fighting is a lot cheaper than having them fighting."

Cutting-edge tech was tested in the California desert by Range Regiment 10112022 CREDIT MOD.png
Around 300 technologies were trialled on Project Convergence, including long-range fires, uncrewed aerial systems, autonomous fighting vehicles and next-generation sensors.

Project Convergence also saw a number of other firsts for the UK, which included:

  • A UK Air Surveillance Radar (Giraffe) was connected to a US network to control and manage targets (normally a US-only system) for battlefield data sharing
  • ZODIAC, a UK artificial intelligence-enabled decision support system that can help commanders make decisions, was connected to US 'sensors', feeding information into a multinational intelligence network  
  • A US F-35 fighter jet has cued fires for a UK GMLRS missile platform, without the requirement for a person actioning the firing, cutting the strike time down from minutes to seconds  
  • The UK has manufactured US parts using 3D printing, helping them resupply at reach, and sharing technical designs of vehicle and weapon parts  
  • UK HoloLens (augmented reality lenses) have been used to help logisticians and maintainers fix equipment supported by a technical expert on the other side of the world.

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