SMi MRAS 2022: 16 Air Assault Brigade to be British Army's first robotics-enhanced brigade

by Alexander Stronell

Horiba Mira's VIKING during demonstrations on Salisbury Plain, March 2022 (Janes/Alexander Stronell)

16 Air Assault Brigade has been chosen to become the British Army's first robotic autonomous systems (RAS)-enhanced brigade, it was announced on 6 April.

Speaking at SMi Military Robotics and Autonomous Systems 2022 (SMi MRAS 2022) conference in London, Lieutenant Colonel Iain Lamont, SO1 Robotics and Autonomous Systems, British Army, confirmed that 16 Air AssaultBrigade Combat Team had been chosen for the role.

The British Army intends to field its first RAS-enhanced light Brigade Combat Team by 2025 with a view to developing a Deep Recce Strike Combat Team by 2030, and finally multiple RAS-enhanced brigades by 2035. In March 2022, Janes reported that the British Army would nominate its intended RAS-enhanced Brigade Combat Team imminently.

16 Air Assault Brigade is the British Army's airborne rapid reaction force. It forms the core of the UK's high-readiness Air Assault Task Force, which can be deployed at short notice for a wide range of operations.


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US DoD report urges more safeguards for small tech firms

by Marc Selinger

An aerial view of the Pentagon, the headquarters building for the US Department of Defense. (Getty Images)

The US Department of Defense (DoD) should increase its efforts to help small businesses protect their technology from foreign adversaries, according to the Pentagon's new “Small Business Strategy”.

Many small businesses do not realise that adversaries might try to gain access to their technology through joint ventures, mergers, acquisitions, or cyber espionage, the report says. The document recommends that the DoD offer education and training to make small businesses aware of such threats so they can take steps to counter them.

The 25-page report, which the Pentagon released on 26 January, also suggests that the department explore ways to promote greater domestic investment in small companies to reduce their reliance on overseas capital. The strategy recommends that the DoD create a working group to consider additional measures to help small businesses minimise risks from “foreign ownership, control, or influence (FOCI) operations”.


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Raytheon Technologies to merge two defence businesses

by Marc Selinger

Raytheon Technologies' products include the sea-launched Tomahawk cruise missile. (NAVAIR)

Raytheon Technologies (RTX) plans to streamline its organisation by combining its two defence-focused business units into one, the US-based company announced on 24 January.

Raytheon Intelligence & Space (RIS) and Raytheon Missiles & Defense (RMD) will become a single business called Raytheon. Aircraft parts maker Collins Aerospace and aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney will remain individual businesses within RTX.

RTX chief operating officer Christopher Calio said that combining RIS and RMD will improve internal collaboration and present a more united front to customers. “We've had customer feedback throughout the last couple of years about the need for us to figure out how to better integrate some of our solutions,” Calio told analysts.

RIS president Roy Azevedo will retire from his role and become an adviser to Calio, who will oversee the reorganisation. RTX plans to implement the merger in the second half of 2023. Asked whether RMD president Wesley Kremer will lead the combined defence business, an RTX spokesperson told Janes that “no decisions have been made”.


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US lawmakers want details on civilian ISR, space-based combat capabilities

by Carlo Munoz

L3Harris Technologies completed the first flight of the US Army Airborne Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare System (ARES) aircraft – that will help modernise and enhance the army's ISR capabilities – on 27 August 2021 in Melbourne, Florida. (L3Harris)

US congressional lawmakers are calling upon the US Army and the Pentagon to provide details on how they plan to close mission gaps in high-altitude intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities, as well as develop a new artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled battlefield sensor management system.

Members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense requested US Army Secretary Christine Wormuth to provide details on how the ground service will continue to provide “contractor-owned, contractor-operated” high-altitude ISR capabilities at the US European Command (EUCOM) and the US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM).

In addition, subcommittee members are demanding a service-led evaluation to identify “the army's gap in ISR capabilities, including for high-[altitude] initiatives”, according to the subcommittee report accompanying the fiscal year (FY) 2023 defence appropriations bill.


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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/terror-insurgent-group/latest/smi-rmas-2022-16-air-assault-brigade-to-be-british-armys-first-robotics-enhanced-brigade

16 Air Assault Brigade has been chosen to become the British Army's first robotic autonomous systems...

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