Advancing UK Aerospace, Defence, Security & Space Solutions Worldwide
  • Home
  • /
  • Defence
  • /
  • Strategic Command, USSSOCOM and SOFWERX host IF15

Defence Events

Strategic Command, USSSOCOM and SOFWERX host IF15

This month, Strategic Command, in partnership with US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and SOFWERX, hosted the 15th Innovation Foundry event (IF15) in London.

Image courtesy MoD / Crown Copyright

The theme was ‘Smart Cities – Future Challenges for Special Operations Forces’ and explored the challenges and opportunities of special operations in a range of future complex smart city scenarios.

It was a unique opportunity to look at novel concepts, capabilities and technologies that will provide Special Operations Forces (SOF) with an advantage over our adversaries in the 2035-time frame. The event involved collaboration between leading minds and innovators from a wide range of different backgrounds including military experts, industry, academia, subject matter experts as well as those from atypical backgrounds – for example, actors and influencers.

Advertisement
Cranfield

The intention behind the event was to challenge traditional approaches and to draw from communities that haven’t previously been part of our thinking and planning. This allowed for diversity of thought, enabling these diverse groups to work together to generate new ideas and discover and develop innovative and disruptive technologies for future smart cities.

The choice of location was also no accident. Surrounded by high rise buildings in central London, a setting that would no doubt subliminally impact the participants thoughts as they discussed urban, dense and congested environments of the future. In any city, there is a lot of competition in the electromagnetic spectrum and physical space, even the vertical aspect of a smart city creates challenges – for example, being on the first floor compared the 90th will significantly change a mission.

Once separated into groups, participants were faced with a broad set of gamified scenarios, constraints and tactical challenges. To overcome such challenges, they needed to understand the probable patterns of life for the population, the operational objectives of SOF and the technical capabilities for each city. Throughout the event participants identified and combated risks, exploited vulnerabilities and developed innovative plans, policies and concepts to enhance our capabilities in smart cities of the future. This required novel approaches when considering virtual and physical theatre entry, combat operations, sustainment and partnering.

The challenges of operating in smart cities in the future will be largely around the Internet of Things (IoT), hyperconnectivity, ubiquitous sensor networks and the physical and electronic challenges of accessing smart cities to conduct military operations – right from ports of entry through to logistics and sustainment to actual physical and kinetic combat operations. Participants generated a range of innovative ideas to combat these challenges, including the use of quantum gravimetry for precision navigation options, uncrewed systems for manoeuvre within smart cities, as well as the creation of digital twins to map the atmospherics and operating environment to give our SOFs the best chance of success in the mission.

Advertisement
ODU RT

The event also helped to facilitate continued sharing of knowledge and ideas and the development of innovative science and technology concepts between the UK and US participants, strengthening what is is already the most robust, deepest, and advanced partnership of any two countries.

The event was not simply working in hypotheticals - the scenarios helped participants understand how to identify necessary investments as well as recruit and train for the skillsets required to operate in future smart cities.

The next phase of the Cycle will be a Rapid Capability Assessment (RCA), which will provide a rapid assessment of the most promising ideas, alongside industry and academia. This process will lead to the identification of new capability solutions which will ultimately be developed into prototypes for testing during the final phases of the Innovation Cycle. Details on how to apply and participate in these next phases will be released shortly.

Advertisement
L3Harris LB May IAMD L3Harris LB May IAMD
Radio wave weapon being developed for UK armed forces

Defence

Radio wave weapon being developed for UK armed forces

17 May 2024

A new game-changing weapon that uses radio waves to disable enemy electronics and take down multiple drones at once is under development for the UK’s armed forces.

UK Government supports 30,000 forces families to buy own home

Defence

UK Government supports 30,000 forces families to buy own home

17 May 2024

In the 10 years since the Forces Help To Buy scheme launched, over 30,000 families have so far benefitted from government support, with more than £450 million in interest free loans issued to service personnel to help them get onto the property ladder.

Babcock selected by Saab for Swedish Navy’s Luleå-class ships

Defence

Babcock selected by Saab for Swedish Navy’s Luleå-class ships

16 May 2024

Babcock International Group has been selected by Saab to support the design for the development of the Swedish Navy’s new Luleå-class Surface Combatant.

Babcock signs UK Nuclear Skills Charter

Defence Security

Babcock signs UK Nuclear Skills Charter

16 May 2024

Babcock has reinforced its commitment to securing the critical nuclear skills the UK needs to deliver national security and energy resilience.

Advertisement
Marshall RT
Dstl leads on UKMFC

Defence Security

Dstl leads on UKMFC

16 May 2024

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is leading on the creation of the United Kingdom Microbial Forensics Consortium (UKMFC).

BAE Systems to develop next-gen airborne decoy countermeasure

Defence

BAE Systems to develop next-gen airborne decoy countermeasure

16 May 2024

BAE Systems has been selected by the US Navy to develop Dual Band Decoy (DBD), one of the most advanced radio frequency (RF) countermeasures in the world.

Advertisement
ODU RT