BAE Unveils Autonomous Tank Concept Supported by UAVs

Published: 14 Sep 2017

BAE Autonomous Tank and Unmanned Aircraft concept

BAE Systems has revealed a future concept of an autonomous combat tank vehicle supported by fleets of smaller autonomous air and ground vehicles, working together in the most demanding combat environments. Whilst soldiers will remain right at the centre of decision-making, the aim is to remove soldiers from some dangers, increasingly using an unmanned network for hazardous tasks.

As well as sharing visual reconnaissance information, the network of autonomous air and ground vehicles would act as an outer perimeter for the main battle tank. To achieve this, the vehicles would engage threats and incoming attacks with on-board weapon stations – using conventional ballistics and countermeasures in the short-term before moving to laser directed energy weapons as they become available. By incorporating ‘friend or foe’ tracking, this perimeter could also protect nearby dismounted troops, detecting and neutralising active threats and concealed IEDs.

With the need to process and quickly react to the growing amount of battlefield information, manned platforms will incorporate more autonomous systems, reducing the cognitive burden on human decision makers.

John Puddy, Technology Lead at BAE Systems Land (UK) explained: “We’re already taking steps to develop the vehicles and systems needed for this future concept. Our new unmanned ground vehicle, Ironclad, is being developed to work autonomously as part of a battlegroup and we’re also integrating unmanned aerial vehicles in current vehicle platforms.”

Posted by Mike Ball Mike is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passions for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years.