Project ACHERON: A Game Changing Capability Demonstration for Defence

ACHERON Project defence military drones robotics

Problem Statement

The use of robotics, autonomy and remotely operated systems, quite often referred to as ‘Drones’, has been experimented with extensively within Defence over the last decade across the primary domains of Land, Sea and Air. This developmental work is accomplished through Single Service (Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force) initiatives and frameworks depending on the use case and supported by Industry. Recent global events have shown the importance of command, control, communications and network architecture as the backbone of this capability. The challenge now is how we connect and integrate across the Domains and individual Services to reduce the Sensor-Decider-Effector chain to increase effectiveness, decrease the burden on decision making and increase survivability for our War Fighters.

Who

Multi-domain Integrated Systems (MDIS) is a 4-year capability investigation, within the MOD’s Future Capability Innovation (FCI), designed to produce evidence on the potential value of Multi-Domain Integrated Robotic and Autonomous Systems (MDI RAS).

Project ACHERON is delivered by the MDIS team and is the culmination of the 4-year MDIS investigation. It will involve branches of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force, alongside other key stakeholders within the Defence industry. Existing cutting-edge capability within the Defence inventory will be integrated along with new emergent technology and resources provided by DE&S, United Kingdom Space Command, Equinox, SNC-MS UK, TP Group, Nexor, Anduril, Archangel, Babcock, Elbit Systems UK, Helsing, Jacobs and DSTL.

Sierra Nevada Corporation Mission Systems UK are partnered with Eagle Eye Innovations Ltd to provide a Project Planning, Integration and Delivery Service as well as a communications enabling capability to safely refine the planning, coordination and execution of Project ACHERON.

What

In July, Project ACHERON will cohere Single Service activities across three disparately remote UK Military training areas to integrate existing cutting edge military capability with new emergent technology. These will be enabled by a representative Multi-Domain networked environment to demonstrate Robotic and Autonomous Systems (RAS) from each military sector connected to a wider single network. This will allow the RAS to communicate from different bases across the country in a way that has not yet been explored to provide a ‘game changing’ capability demonstration for Defence.

Why

The exercise will aim to show how this Multi-Domain integrated network can be used in a real-world, conflict environment and revolves around four main goals.

  • Develop the digital architecture needed for multi-domain Military RAS use
  • Accelerate RAS capabilities in all domains
  • Develop pan-Defence mechanisms for the operational use of RAS
  • Identify operational use cases for MDI RAS

The MDIS framework and Project ACHERON could change the way that the UK Military operates, and revolutionise and streamline the use of drones in conflict environments.

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