The British Army has tested working with drones in Atlas MESH for the first time, and they called MESH a breakthrough in technology and flying standards.
MESH allows one operator to control several drones at once from one remote control.
Arthur Dawe (SG), commanding officer of the Infantry Trials and Development Unit (ITDU), said:
“This added scale and complexity, with each drone able to carry out a separate task. This is a real amplifier, adding capacity, force protection, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. The intent going forward is to add a precision strike capability. This will not only assist in our targeting but in our strike capability, making us more lethal at range which will protect our very valuable forces and people”.
The ATLAS system was utilized in the package where one operator controls four drones on a tablet with individual manual taskings.
Dominic Ferrett, a lead UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) engineer with the UK’s Defence Equipment and Support’s Future Capability Group, said swarms would mean reduced operator burden with ground and air elements also set to be incorporated.
LCol Kai Webb (Rifles) from ITDU, who operated the swarm, said:
“This type of technology will be a massive help when rolled out to units.”
Two scenarios were tested: providing 24-hour surveillance around a specific location and artificial intelligence communications with the systems to plan overwatch.
ATLAS is currently testing the use of 50 drones in MESH. Ivan Tolchinsky, CEO of ATLAS, says:
“The next step is creating fully autonomous artificial intelligence systems. You won’t need to manage the system, but rather just create the mission for MESH.”