Royal Marines Rock w/ ATAK

Here’s an article — with a subheading “Defence chiefs believe new technology such as Atak(sic) app can increase power of each soldier several times over” regarding an exercise last year involving the British Royal Marines and the United States Marine Corps. There have been numerous articles hinting at this over the last several months, but until now, TAK hasn’t been called out explicitly. (Here’s another article from the Suncovering the same event, showing the power of the technology to transform small unit operations).

This article, in addition to calling out ATAK in the headline also gives some dramatic details of the event and explicitly credits TAK as a key differentiator in the experiment.

Wallace and Carter presented their vision at a wargaming exercise at Bovington Camp in Dorset on Friday, where marines and soldiers demonstrated how newly developed drones, phones and maps could be integrated into live combat.

Royal Marines participating in an exercise in which the UK was partnering with a fictional African nation wore mobile phones clamped open on their chest. Using an Android app called Atak, the phones can be used to track allied troops and share the position of enemies.

Operating alongside the commandos were a range of drones including the Ghost mini helicopter, used for reconnaissance, with the Marines planning to buy 10 this summer. They use artificial intelligence to work in a swarm to point out potential targets, with officers able to select what the drones look for, such as a white Toyota Hilux with a machine gun.

Nevertheless, military chiefs believe the new technology, in particular the Atak app, which can link to a portable radio, can increase the power of each soldier several times over. At an urban warfare exercise last year in California, the British say, nearly 100 marine commandos defeated 1,500 of their US counterparts because of help from the situational awareness technology.

“The normal assault rules are completely inverted,” said Dan Cheesman, the chief technology officer with the Royal Navy. “It’s not three or four to one that’s needed, it’s one to four.”

This article is a great testament to the value of digitizing the battlefield and of the power of tactical situational awareness.

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