18th - 19th September, 2024
UTAC Millbrook, Bedfordshire

British Army is Transforming for a Sustainable Future

The themes for DVD2024 have recently been announced, and with a focus on working together to pull the future into the present, the event will be closely following the sustainability and technology targets that will enable transformation.

Keen to find out more about how the British Army is embracing low-carbon technologies to gain an operational advantage, whilst ensuring it is capable of dealing with the challenges presented by climate change, we spoke to Army Headquarters’ Climate Change and Sustainability Team.

How is the British Army transforming for a sustainable future?

The Army recognises that the impact of climate change and sustainability is a totemic issue; it must be considered in everything we do, addressing both the causes and consequences. Our goal is to operate as a climate change and sustainability leader within the MOD, across government and our allies, embracing transformation to secure competitive advantage.

Whilst the Army is committed to incorporating the climate change and sustainability principles, its primary purpose of protecting the British people and the UK’s interests at home and abroad remains our focus.

The Army has initiated Project TERRA to deliver a coherent, costed and profiled plan against carbon targets, climate change and sustainability initiatives. The Project TERRA directive considers the impact of climate change in contexts such as military training, personnel well-being, equipment capability, procurement, estate operations, and civilian infrastructure.

In consultation with KPMG, the Army is using the Defence Climate Risk Assessment Methodology to map out risks and opportunities that may arise on our journey towards Net Zero and build our adaptation and mitigation pathway. As this engagement develops, it is important to acknowledge that risk assessment is playing a fundamental role in shaping our approach to achieving Net Zero targets.
How is the Army harnessing electric and hybrid technology within its vehicle fleet, both today and in its plans for the future?

As the Sectoral Lead for Surface Transport (excluding white fleet), the Army is considering options for achievable levels of operational emission reduction through studies, trials and support to the Defence Operational Energy Strategy. These include:

  •  Technology Demonstrator #6 (TD6) – Battlefield Electrification. The Army has invested c£14m in Battlefield Electrification which will inform hybrid-electric requirements for future capabilities. Electrification is one of five Army Futures Research and Experimentation strategies directing the technology-driven transformation of Army. TD6 was initiated in 2018 to experiment with Hybrid Electric Drive (HED) technologies on three in-service platforms, SV truck, FOXHOUND and JACKAL reconnaissance platform. Testing has indicated that HED will offer significant improvements in tactical and operational advantage, reduce logistic needs and simplify the supply chain, offering long-term savings.
  • Project LURCHER. This is a pre-procurement exercise, working with Electrogenic and Babcock International, to assess the real-world issues of having EV technology in battlefield situations. Four British Army Land Rovers are trialling electric power for UK military vehicles, with early benefits including straight-line speed, safety travelling downhill, reduced thermal and acoustic signatures and increased exportable power to unlock “novel mission systems”. Lowering thermal signatures could also delay detection from enemy drones and the electric propulsion being trialled could offer greater stealth advantages. The trials also highlight that transitioning to electric will present fresh challenges for maintaining, driving and fixing Army vehicles, while engineer training will need to adapt in line with new and emerging EV technologies.
  • Over the past 12 months, the Army has conducted a number of Power/Energy Research and development activities, including smart microgrids and advanced energy storage.

How will adopting new technologies ensure the British Army becomes more sustainable, whilst also enhancing its capabilities?

Climate change and sustainability compliance will enhance the Army’s operational effectiveness both at home and overseas. By embracing the opportunities from low carbon or sustainable technology we can maintain and grow our strategic advantage and enhance our capability while reducing our logistic tail, optimising resources, and minimising wastage. Moving to renewable energy sources has the dual advantage of significant tactical and operational advantages in addition to reduced emissions. For example, research taking place around electric drive vehicles aims to prevent delays to logistical supply, enabling the Army to operate both for longer periods without resupply and at greater reach across an increasingly dispersed battlefield.

How is the Army using other fossil-fuel alternatives, such as solar power, to drive its green future?

The Army is investing in renewable energy opportunities, such as ground-mounted solar photovoltaic panels installed under Project PROMETHEUS. The energy generation and storage projects like PROMETHEUS and STORE provide a level of infrastructure resilience and are central to the reduction of expenditure on utilities, meeting the Greening Government Commitments and Net Zero targets. The impact of this is being amplified with investment in technology to reduce energy consumption like LED lighting and investment in building energy management systems.

What are the opportunities for the Army in embracing a sustainable future?

While still in concept phase, one of the seven objectives of the Land Industrial Strategy is to proactively support environmentally sustainable and responsible vehicles. Through the development of digital twins and synthetic training systems, the Army is investigating options for reducing the amount of live training and thus carbon footprint while maintaining operational effectiveness. Reducing obsolescence in projects like the Land Deep Fires Programme is also seeing the removal of harmful legacy substances such as ‘F’ gases and lead.

On the estate, we have a programme to improve Single Living Accommodation (SLA), starting at sites in poor condition, which will benefit both our people and the environment. The SLA programme is using modern methods of construction and off-site modular manufacturing processes to reduce embodied carbon and manufacturing costs. These methods are designed to minimise operation energy usage and are fit for future Net Zero Carbon measures.

On 18th and 19th September 2024, industry and Defence in the Land Equipment sector will meet at UTAC Millbrook for two days of coordinated engagement, on subjects such as this. Jointly sponsored by Defence Equipment & Support (Land Equipment) and Army Headquarters, DVD2024 will provide opportunities for industry and key MOD stakeholders to discuss ‘Battle Winning Ideas’, resilience and collaboration, delivering increased capability and the ability to exploit innovation.

For further information visit www.theevent.co.uk

Technology Demonstrator #6 (TD6) vehicle at DVD2022