£30m boost to fast-track battlefield apps

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The funding, drawn from the multi-million Transformation Fund, will spark a step change in the development of application software for the Armed Forces and allow the rapid adaption of the state-of-the-art technology to be used in extreme environments, from natural disasters to the frontline.

The crucial technology will also give the military the warfighting edge they need to outpace adversaries and combat emerging threats, allowing those on the ground to demand responsive software that can visualise and automate secure, critical information, tailored to their mission, anywhere in the world.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

From major natural disasters to the frontline on the battlefield, our Armed Forces are quick to react and even quicker to adapt. This technology matches that agility by enabling the creation of specialist digital applications that are tailored, secure and responsive.

By deploying this technology into the hands of our military, from sailors serving in the Caribbean, to pilots working in the Middle East, we will ensure we have a fighting force fit for the future, equipped with state-of-the-art technology at their fingertips.

The new approach, championed by Joint Forces Command, will allow defence specialists to create and tailor applications rapidly to meet an operational commander’s requirements, assure its robustness and security, and deploy it on military networks in a matter of days.

As a mission evolves and changes, the application will be able to be adapted and changed to keep step with the demands of the operation.

The capability, dubbed PREDA – Platform for Rapid Exploitation of Digital Applications – is similar to the technology being introduced by the United States Air Force (USAF) and US Marine Corps, which has already seen direct benefits from putting modern applications and decision support software directly in the hands of the war-fighter, when and where it is needed.

The USAF has already delivered 18 tailored applications to support planning, command and control functions at its Air Operations Centers. Further applications are being explored in budgeting and acquisition, cyber defence and logistics.

Whilst the approach is initially expected to provide tools to support decision making and command and control, the initiative could be rolled out to other disciplines, such as cyber defence, logistics and medical support.

The technology is expected to be in use on operations across the globe by the end of the year.

The funding for the innovative Application and Software Design comes after the Defence Secretary announced a £66m funding injection for military robotic projects last week.

As part of the Modernising Defence Programme, the Defence Secretary has dedicated millions of pounds to transforming defence, arming the British military with innovative technology through fast-tracking new projects.

The MOD is embracing transformation at an ever-faster rate and the Transformation Fund is focused on investments in truly high-tech innovation that will develop the Armed Forces of the future.

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