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British Army conducts swarming demos

The Atlas Dynamics AtlasPRO, at the British Army UAS swarming event, is pictured here. With a 32-minute endurance, it can be flight-ready within three minutes. (Crown Copyright 2022)

The British Army, in collaboration with Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) Future Capability Group (FCG), hosted an unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) swarming event in Salisbury Plain on 4 August.

Funded by Army Headquarters, the trial demonstrated two different types of UASs in two separate swarm scenarios, a British Army spokesperson told Janes on 14 September.

The first demonstration involved Atlas Dynamics AtlasNEST – integrated with the AtlasPRO UAS – in a five-swarm configuration, the spokesperson said. The company's Mesh system was also used, enabling command-and-control of the systems. Together, the UASs conducted 24-hour perimeter defensive surveillance around a specific location, the British Army detailed in a separate announcement.

The AtlasNEST incorporates a ‘hive' system, which can be placed onto a vehicle. The UAS can then autonomously take off, land, and return to the nest to swap its batteries, Dominic Ferrett, engineering manager, DE&S FCG, informed Janes on a different occasion.

In the second swarm scenario, the army focused on demonstrating a wide search-and-discover operation. They utilised Elbit Systems' Torch-X Robotics and Autonomous System (RAS) – with six ‘Falcon UAS' – enabling the operator to task multiple systems at once, the spokesperson explained. During the demonstration, the UAS autonomously planned its routes, used edge processing to detect threats on the ground, and plotted alerts on a map, notifying the user, the spokesperson said.

In March, the FCG told Janes

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