The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is bringing its expertise to the At-Sea Demonstration Formidable Shield 21 (ASD/FS-21), the live exercise combining Allied nations in UK waters to demonstrate effective integrated air and missile defence, including interoperability, command and control.
Dstl has enabled the latest artificial intelligence (AI) to be brought into the command spaces on a Type 45 destroyer (HMS Dragon) and Type 23 frigate (HMS Lancaster) for the first time, improving the ability to detect threats earlier and providing advice to operators. This will crucially increase engagement timelines and provide the Commanders with tools to support operational decision making.
The exercise is designed to improve allied interoperability in a live-fire joint integrated air and missile defence (IAMD) environment, using NATO command and control reporting structures. Ten nations are participating by sending ships, aircraft, ground assets, and embarked staff in Task Group IAMD, including Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
“A number of key scientists and military advisors will be on board a number ships checking that systems work together with command and control, both tactical and technically,” said Jayne Adamson, Dstl Principal Advisor for Maritime Information Systems and the MTMD Forum’s Lead Systems Engineer. “The data will be gathered and used to refine future capabilities’ responsiveness to threat, evaluation and weapon assignment.”
ASD/FS-21 is a significant exercise, with 15 ships, more than 10 aircraft, and around 3,300 military personnel involved. The exercise is taking place at MOD Hebrides Range in Scotland which is managed by QinetiQ. The range complex occupies 115,000km2 of sanitised airspace with unlimited altitude and can be extended for specific trials. This large area makes it ideal for air-launched weapons operations and is a fully instrumented controlled environment which enables the test and evaluation of land, air and sea weapons, systems and training for UK forces and its allies.
“As a member of the UK Mission Systems Enterprise, we are incredibly proud to support At-Sea Demonstration/Formidable Shield 21,” Robin Abbot, Programme Manager, BAE Systems Naval Ships Combat Systems. “The exercise helps to stress test our integrated combat systems against new and evolving above water threats in a challenging environment.
“We are delighted to work with Dstl, Roke and CGI to demonstrate the benefits of novel tactical decision aids integrated with an open Combat Management System, deriving requirements for the next generation of operational systems.”