On 4 Jan 2016, 19 soldiers from 3 RIFLES Recce Platoon deployed to Fort Benning, Georgia, USA as the first ever British Army Platoon to take part in the US Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment (AEWE). AEWE is an annual event held by Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). It is a force on force activity at the small unit (squad) level, which places technologies into the hands of soldiers from an early stage of development to allow them to provide credible feedback. This provides an opportunity for the soldiers to give valuable critique of the equipment direct to manufactures and to validate changes in equipment design but also informs future concepts, organizations and requirements.
The AEWE is broken down into two phases: phase 1 is the Initial integration and training on the equipment that will be utilized throughout AEWE, phase 2 will consist of two 72 hr test exercises and user focused data collection events.
Over the nine weeks Recce Platoon will integrate with an American Company throughout the AEWE, providing an excellent experience of working in a coalition environment. For the task Recce Platoon have been equipped with the new issued British load carriage system known as VIRTUS (https://www.youtube.com/Virtus Video) that is currently being issued to very high readiness troops. They will also use US weapons and the US Army’s integrated Dismounted Situational Awareness (DSA) system ‘Nett Warrior’ (http://www.youtube.com/nett warrior video).
The Riflemen will help test over 52 technologies broking down into five categories: Situational understanding, Small Unit Sustainment, Small Unit Mission Command, Enhanced Air – Ground Operations, Improved Protection and Mobility. The technologies range from; tactical through-wall detection, S-UAVs, robotic recce intelligence systems, energy harvesting assault packs to a prototype visible and thermal camouflage, a metal mug that charges your phone through to a new multipurpose tool. More information can be found here: http://www.benning.army.mil/Systems book.pdf
Recce Platoon have a real opportunity to play an integral role in testing and evaluating new and novel Dismounted Close Combat (DCC) capabilities. The Riflemen’s professional feedback and critique will help shape and develop the equipment of the future, as well as inform British equipment procurement. More information please see 3 RIFLES facebook: https://www.facebook.com/3RIFLES/ and AEWE website: http://www.benning.army.mil/mcoe/cdid/aewe/