GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- U.S. Soldiers, Marines, Department of Defense civilians, and troops from the United Kingdom observed and tested a series of unmanned, remote-controlled ground vehicles during a combined training event at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, April 2, 2018.
The training event was conducted in preparation for a larger demonstration of unmanned capabilities, called the Robotic Complex Breach Concept, scheduled for later that week.
"Being able to take Soldiers out of harm's way and accomplish the mission is very an attractive option to any commander," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jesse Curry, commander of the 82nd Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. "It's a capability that the enemy will not know how to counteract when we implement it. This type of technology enables us to stretch further while conserving resources."
The military vehicle-mounted Automated Direct and Indirect Mortar, the M58 Wolf Smoke Generator, and the 'Terrier' armored digger were some of the existing technologies used throughout the exercise. All were outfitted with new technology that allows them to be remotely controlled.
"This has been a great opportunity to show each other how to work on new systems, as well as each other's systems," said U.K. army Staff Sgt. Joe Ferries, a combat engineer with the U.K. 22nd Engineer Regiment, 8th Engineer Brigade. "All the lessons learned here are going to have massive benefits for our armies and the next mission."
Ferries, the U.K. soldier who supervised a portion of the training, said he believes this kind of training is a natural part of improving any military.
"This training its quite relevant," said Ferries. "We will always have to compare and improve our procedures and technologies."
The U.S. Army's 1st Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment, the 82nd Brigade Engineer Battalion, and the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence, and the U.S. Marine Corp's Engineer School were among some of the units observing the training. Each unit's service members got a chance to test the equipment and provide feedback to developers.
The Robotic Complex Breach Concept exercise will further test the capabilities of the new equipment, which is designed to enhance existing intelligence, suppression, obscuration, and reduction capabilities for breach operations.
"This was testing of genuine and unique technology, partnered with cutting-edge development to address a complicated problem," said Curry. "Our potential enemy's goal is to counteract what we have in our inventory, so we need to incorporate additional technology to enable our Soldiers to be successful in their jobs."