Back to In The News

Accelerating Military Innovation: Andy Mcintyre of the UK MOD’s Future Capability Group

In the dynamic realm of military technology, turning groundbreaking ideas into operational advantages swiftly is critical.

The UK Ministry of Defence's Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) office, through its Future Capability Group, is at the forefront of integrating cutting-edge technology into the hands of the UK’s Armed Forces. Universal Defence and Security Solutions Director, Vice Admiral (Ret’d) Duncan Potts CB had the privilege of interviewing Andy Mcintyre, the Group Lead on Army and Navy Capability at DE&S, as part of the Navy Leaders series. Their conversation revealed deep insights into the processes that help accelerate the deployment of innovative technologies.

Emphasising Rapid Experimentation and Deployment

Andy and his team are deeply involved in the experimentation and rapid integration of the latest technologies into service. The discussion centred on the Baltic region's geostrategic importance and the immediate threats from the Russian Federation. In such high-risk areas, the necessity to embrace autonomy at sea—whether in the air, on the surface, or below it—is more critical than ever.

Collaborative Efforts and Regulatory Challenges

The Future Capability Group is making significant strides in understanding these systems and charting the path to operational service. Collaboration with partner nations and the continuous evolution of technology from the concept stage are key factors that facilitate this process. Andy emphasised the importance of experimentation to inform use cases and guide future investment decisions.

One striking example of rapid technological integration is the introduction of the Windracer UAS. The historic deck landing of a UAS on the HMS Prince of Wales marked the first fixed-wing landing of an unmanned air system in the UK. This achievement was made possible by working closely with frontline commands and swiftly obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals.

The Road Ahead: Unmanned Systems and Maritime Aviation

Looking forward, Andy highlighted the exciting prospects for maritime aviation, which envisages a blended force complemented by unmanned air systems in both land and maritime environments. The journey from procurement to operational service is not just about acquiring new equipment but also involves working integrally with forces like the Royal Navy to define and refine the pathways for equipment integration.

Lessons Learned and the Path Forward

The rapid evolution of technology presents both challenges and opportunities, especially in procurement processes. However, the ability to quickly translate demand into actionable deployments underscores the effectiveness of the Future Capability Group’s approach. Andy’s insights underline the significant benefits of these efforts, as the group continues to learn and adapt in an ever-changing technological landscape.

As Duncan concluded the discussion, it was clear that the path from experimentation to rapid implementation is fraught with challenges but also ripe with opportunities for those willing to innovate and adapt. It’s an exciting time for military technology, and the Future Capability Group’s work is pivotal in ensuring that the UK’s Armed Forces remain at the cutting edge of operational capability.

Source: Navy Leaders