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Jul 14 2021

Artificial Intelligence used for the first time in British Army during Estonia-led Spring Strom

SZCZECIN, Poland - During exercise Spring Storm conducted across Estonia at the turn of May and June, soldiers from the UK 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade's Mercian Regiment used an Artificial Intelligence (AI) engine which provides information on the surrounding environment and terrain. British service members have been deployed to Estonia within the framework of NATO's enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) and form the core of the Tapa-based Battle Group.

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British soldiers on exercise Spring Storm in Estonia / Photo by Marina Loštšina 
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British soldiers on exercise Spring Storm in Estonia / Photo by n-srs Mark-Erik Tölpt 
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British soldiers on exercise Spring Storm in Estonia / Photo by Marina Loštšina 
Through the development of significant automation and smart analytics, the engine is able to rapidly cut through masses of complex data. Providing efficient information regarding the environment and terrain, it enables the Army to plan its appropriate activity and outputs. The Army's Director of Information, Major General Jonathan Cole said: "The deployment was a first of its kind for the Army. It built on close collaboration between the MOD and industry partners that developed AI specifically designed for the way the Army is trained to operate.
The lessons this has provided are considerable, not just in terms of our support to deployed forces, but more broadly in how we inform Defence's digital transformation agenda and the best practices we must adopt to integrate and exploit leading-edge technologies.

This AI capability, which can be hosted in the cloud or operate in independent mode, saved significant time and effort, providing soldiers with instant planning support and enhancing command and control processes.

20th Armoured Infantry Brigade and user of the AI, Major James Mcevoy said:
This was a fantastic opportunity to use a new and innovative piece of technology in a deployed environment. The kit was shown to outperform our expectations and has clear applications for improving our level of analysis and speed at which we conduct our planning. I'm greatly looking forward to further opportunities to work with this.

In future, the UK armed forces will increasingly use AI to predict adversaries' behaviour, perform reconnaissance and relay real-time intelligence from the battlefield.

During the annual large-scale NATO exercise "Spring Storm", soldiers from France, Denmark, Belgium, Estonia and the UK used the technology whilst carrying out live-fire drills.

Story by Multinational Corps Northeast Public Affairs Office; original story by British Army

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