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UK funds TRED-H demonstrator for organic fire support

The UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has tasked aviation systems house Callen-Lenz Associates to develop, build, and flight test an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) concept demonstrator designed to deliver an organic fire support capability for a small team.

A GBP5 million (USD6.9 million) contract for the Tactical Remote Effects Delivery-Heavy (TRED-H) project was placed by Dstl at the end of September. However, the contract – awarded to Callen-Lenz Associates under the pre-existing RCloud framework agreement – only came to light in a transparency notice published on 26 October.

According to details contained in a heavily redacted statement of requirements released as part of the transparency notice, TRED-H is designed to provide “a responsive, cost-effective, and proportional organic fire support capability that can be controlled and tasked by the deployed team that requires it”. Fitted with a suite of engagement options, the deployed unit should be able to conduct a rapid and accurate response to emerging threats.

The 3.5-year RCloud contract award, running through to the end March 2025, is intended to deliver a fully integrated, user flow, TRL6 concept demonstrator to be delivered by 31 March 2025 (Dstl expects delivery of two complete systems). Dstl has planned to demonstrate the TRED-H system as a standalone capability “within a battlefield architecture for scalable collaborative engagement” by the end of August 2023.

To address this shortfall, Dstl envisages a TRED-H capability will be enabled through the provision of automation and autonomy to alleviate the flying and navigation burden on the single operator, and to present appropriate target information. It also calls for a system that will be capable of edge processing to support both the artificial intelligence requirement and the command-and-control (C2) of other UAS assets.

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