Scientists and engineers from the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) are conducting research to equip the armed forces with innovative unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for explosive threat detection.
The DSTL worked with NATO allies in Spain and Canada on demonstrations for the UAV industry to assess their capabilities.
First Steps to Safety
Minister for Defence Procurement James Cartlidge stressed the importance of the research.
“The UK and our NATO allies are spearheading research into this technology, which has the potential to not only enhance protection for our Service Personnel, but also speed up battlefield progress,” he said.
The two-week NATO trials allowed international and academic organizations to showcase their sensor capabilities that could work together with drone technologies.
Although initial assessments have not been disclosed, the DSTL aims to use them to prioritize the next stages of research and development, scheduled to run over the next decade.
Assuring Safety With GARA
The mine-detecting drone research will be incorporated into the UK’s Ground Area Reconnaissance and Assurance (GARA) Project, a 2022 initiative aiming to mark and neutralize explosives at a safe distance for unimpeded military vehicles and personnel transit.
GARA promotes electromagnetic technology as a major countermeasure against land mines, developing concepts to neutralize tactically-placed explosive devices.
The DSTL’s push for mine-detecting technologies comes amid the British military’s efforts to assist Ukraine in clearing minefields left by Russian forces in the Russo-Ukrainian war.