Horiba MIRA leads £3m contract for autonomous resupply system

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The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) has awarded a £3m contract to Horiba MIRA, and five UK technology suppliers, for the delivery of unmanned air and ground systems which will be able to resupply front line UK forces.

The MOD’s Future Capability Group said such systems will enhance the speed, efficiency and safety of combat missions. Automation of re-supply enables troops to be reallocated for combat as opposed to logistical duties, enabling lean, self-sufficient combat teams.

The Air & Ground Intelligent Logistics Environment (AGILE) solution integrates autonomous unmanned air and ground vehicles with a battlefield management and logistics information system to automate a just-in-time re-supply to the front line.

While Horiba MIRA leads the project and provides its Viking unmanned ground vehicle, it will see five additional UK organisations making hardware and software contributions, including automation firm Blue Prism and mesh communications company DTC Limited. The unmanned aerial systems will be provided by three consortium – Malloy Aeronautics, Skylift UAV and Vulcan UAV.

The AGILE solution is hosted on a single mesh network linking multiple air and ground platforms, and is directed through Horiba MIRA’s battlespace management software which can be controlled by a single user.

AGILE is designed to integrate unmanned aerial and ground vehicles with battlefield management systems to automate resupply of the British Army’s front line

Andy Maloney, chief engineer for UGVs and defence at Horbia MIRA, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to capture the ingenuity of a number of leading UK-based companies, and advanced AI-based autonomy that we previously developed with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and the Defence & Security Accelerator, to create a rapid development and experimentation programme to give the British Army durable advantage through emerging technologies.”

The work builds upon previous projects that MIRA has completed with the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and the Defence and Security Accelerator developing new technology for projects focusing on autonomous last mile and joint tactical autonomous replenishment. The project will be funded by the Defence Transformation Fund.

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