in Defence / Events

Unmanned Warrior becomes first Royal Navy exercise planned in the Cloud

Posted 22 June 2016 · Add Comment

Unmanned Warrior 2016 is the first Royal Navy exercise to be planned using a cloud-based geographic information system (GIS), which allows the 40 plus participating organisations to view and contribute to the plan collaboratively from their own office locations.

At any one time, the participants know that they are always working against the latest version of the plan that can be shared and viewed by all key stakeholders.  

ArcGIS Online is a cloud-based mapping platform from Esri UK, the leading provider of geographic information systems to the UK MoD and Armed Forces, and will be used in all three phases of Unmanned Warrior; Planning, Deployment and Post Deployment for PED (Processing, Exploitation and Dissemination of information).
Unmanned Warrior, which takes place in October in Scotland, is the largest demonstration of maritime autonomous vehicles of its kind. The exercise will involve some 50 unmanned and autonomous vehicles, sensors and software in the air, on the surface and underwater with participants from industry, academia and defence. To date, more than 100 users have been registered to access the ArcGIS Online based plan.

Co-ordinating a plan of this complexity with so many organisations in diverse geographic locations had proved challenging using spreadsheets, paper and scanned maps.  The Royal Navy, which is hosting Unmanned Warrior, embraced the move to ArcGIS Online, where the “current” version of the plan is always available to registered participants.  It also allows relevant data, such as Environmental Impact Areas, to be loaded so the overall impact of the plan can be more easily assessed or to brief stakeholders, such as the CAA and NATS, showing the impact of the plan on Airspace hour-by-hour, though the exercise.

Cdr Peter Pipkin, The Fleet Robotics Officer, commented: “The use of ArcGIS Online is a significantly different way of planning for us, so the opportunity to explore its utility in the unique construct of Unmanned Warrior is a chance that we wanted to fully exploit”.
During the Deployment phase Esri UK’s `Drones to Map` product will enable data captured from an unmanned vehicle to be incorporated into the ArcGIS platform to provide situational awareness of the real operational scenario. Esri UK is also providing an ArcGIS Online based Operations Dashboard for VIP and observers to view a dynamic common operational picture of the exercise. 

In the Post Deployment phase Esri UK is looking to work with the National Oceanographic Centre (NOC) on the Processing, Exploitation and Dissemination (PED). This entails Esri UK establishing an environment based on ArcGIS capable of storing, managing, processing, analysing and disseminating a wide range of data captured during the deployment, for example, bathymetric, oceanographic, atmospheric and littoral.

“The use of ArcGIS Online in the planning of Unmanned Warrior demonstrates how Portal for ArcGIS – the implementation of ArcGIS Online in a customer’s own secure environment - could be a game-changer in operations planning for tactical exercises and for deployed operations,” said Adrian Friend, Head of Defence National Security and Public Safety at Esri UK “We look forward to showing how GIS underpins the operation of unmanned platforms and sensors, and the exploitation of their data, to deliver critical situational awareness during Unmanned Warrior.”


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