Project CONVERGENCE 22, which has 450 British Army participants, is testing cutting-edge systems and technologies in California.
News Release, York, 08 October 2022: During October and November, the 20th Armoured Brigade Combat Team (20 ACBT) will be in the US to work with our allies and test of range of innovative systems. Project CONVERGENCE 22, for which the UK is contributing 450 soldiers, will test around 17 cutting-edge systems and technologies, including some for the first time ‘on the ground’.
This exercise is designed to help make the British Army more lethal on the battlefield, by cutting down on time and complications in what is called the ‘sensor-decider-effector’ chain. One of the ways of doing this will be to speed up the process by which the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) is fired, by use of automation and sensors on the F-35 Lightning II fighter jet. Other methods of increasing lethality that are being tested in California include combining one of our air defence assets, the Giraffe Agile Multi Beam (G-AMB) radar, with the network that the Americans use in order to better coordinate our protection.
It is not just all about equipment; from a human perspective, the newly-formed Ranger Regiment will operate alongside US Special Operations Forces to swap tactics, while a British Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) Platoon will provide reconnaissance and logistical support. The RAS capability will be provided by the 2nd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment (2 YORKS), who have recently completed a posting in Cyprus, where they trialled an array of systems to determine their effectiveness for future infantry use.
The Watchkeeper WK450 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) will provide the eyes in the sky while a range of other technologies will support situational awareness and the processing of intelligence within 20 ACBT headquarters.
Project CONVERGENCE is the premier US Army experimentation exercise, seeking to define how the US and international partners, including the UK and Australia, will fight in a multi-domain battlespace. More than a singular event, this is a sustained campaign of learning designed to advance and integrate our allied forces and ensure that we can rapidly and continuously ‘converge’ effects across the battlefield.
An experimentation of firsts, the UK hopes to achieve:
- The first time a UK Giraffe Agile Multi-Beam RADAR (Air Defence Sensor forming part of Sky Sabre Medium Range Air Defence) has connected to a US Fire Control Network (normally a US only system).
- The first time UK Rangers have been deployed alongside US Special Operations Forces and the 75th Ranger Regiment on Theatre Entry Exercises – experimenting with the concept of use of the nascent Army Special Operations Brigade and its’ Ranger Regiment.
- The first time ZODIAC, a UK decision support system that can help Commander’s make decisions, has been connected to US ‘sensors’, feeding information into the network.
- The first time a US F35 fighter jet has cued fires for a UK GMLRS missile platform, without the requirement for a person in the loop, cutting the strike time down from minutes to seconds.
- The first time the UK have manufactured US parts using 3D printing, helping them resupply at reach and sharing technical designs of vehicle and weapon parts.
- The first time UK HoloLens (augmented reality lenses) have been used to help sustainers fix equipment supported by a technical expert over extended distance.
- WATCHKEEPER UAS flying operationally in a multi-National construct, tasked by 1st (US) Cavalry Division.
- Command and Control – 20 ABCT TOC utilising the Mission Partner Environment, ZODIAC decision support tool and HoloLens to support decision making.
- The printing of US parts using a UK 3D printer in support of expeditionary logistics, and the sharing of blueprints and data that allows our partners to resupply each other.
- Augmented Reality Forward Repair being used by the UK and US combined to use expertise at reach to help a soldier repair forward.
~ $ ~
What is Project CONVERGENCE 22?
Project CONVERGENCE is the premier US Army experimentation exercise, seeking to define how the US and international partners, including the UK and Australia, will fight in a multi-domain battlespace.
The exercise, including UK soldiers, will test cutting-edge systems and technologies, including some for the first time ‘on the ground’. It is designed to help make the British Army more lethal on the battlefield, by cutting down on time and complications in what is called the ‘sensor-decider-effector-sustainer’ chain.
Fundamentally, this is about minimising the time between identifying enemy targets and being able to decide and then have an effect on them, using Artificial Intelligence and emerging technologies.
The exercise is more than a singular event, it is a sustained campaign of learning designed to advance and integrate our allied forces. It will ensure that we can rapidly and continuously ‘converge’ effects across the battlefield.
Who will be involved?
Several formations and units will be involved with Project CONVERGENCE.
- 20 Armoured Brigade Combat Team: The Brigade Combat Team (BCT) will lead the British Army’s participation in Project CONVERGENCE 22 and conduct our most sophisticated experiment to date involving 17 technologies and approximately 450 serving personnel.
- 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment: 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment has been our lead experimentation battalion testing cutting-edge technology as architects of how the British Army will fight in the future.
- The Ranger Regiment: The Ranger Regiment established as part of Future Soldier will also assist in the exercise. A Ranger Regiment Task Group will be embedded with US Special Operations Forces to grow linkages and exploit best practices.
Why is Project CONVERGENCE 22 important for the British Army?
Future Soldier is the British Army’s modernisation programme, it focuses on delivering a modern British Army that is fit for the challenges of the future. A future in which it is more lethal, agile and expeditionary; an army able to fight and win wars and to compete successfully in the grey zone between peace and war.
Key to both the Future Soldier vision and the success of Project CONVERGENCE 22 (PC22) is Digital Capability Transformation. Over the next 10 years, the totality of the Army’s deployable digital system will be modernised on an ambitious programme. This includes wholesale modernisation of its expeditionary command, control communications and Information Systems capability, a first-class Land Intelligence Surveillance Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance capability, linking sensor to decider and effectors, and a world-leading Army Cyber and Electromagnetic Activities capability.
As well as giving us a valuable opportunity to test and adjust our sensor, decider, and effector networks, PC22 will enable us to integrate with the networks of allies and partners. Sharing data at speed across networks and national forces is vital to success on the modern battlefield.