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Research about the cooperation of unmanned and manned aerial vehicles

Defence Command
20.8.2021 13.05
Press release

The research is conducted in cooperation with the German Manned-Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) research project which investigates the teaming of manned and unmanned systems in various situations. Finland's part of the research does not include platforms or systems, focusing solely on cooperation between man and aerial vehicles. Industrial companies from both countries take part in the research directed by the Finnish and German defence administrations.

Tests and flight demonstrations related to the MUM-T research will be organised in Rovajärvi and Kemijärvi 23-27 August 2021.  The tests directed by the Finnish Defence Forces will be organised in cooperation with the German Armed Forces.  The participation of Finnish industry in the tests will reinforce Finland’s national know-how and contribute to the other research and development activities of the Defence Forces as well.  The research cooperation will strengthen the Defence Forces’ understanding of the advancement of unmanned aviation, and the FDF will get to experiment and assess the teaming of unmanned and manned aerial vehicles in Finnish circumstances. The research involves situational awareness generated by drones localizing and identifying targets.

The cooperation of manned and unmanned systems may, for instance, also serve to improve situational picture, reduce threats to friendly troops, reduce misjudgements due to fatigue and stress, and improve military capability in situations in which human reaction time is not fast enough.

The advancement of weapon technology, the changing character of war and the long development times of defence solutions require the Defence Forces to proactively adopt also technologies projected to be operational in the battlefield only decades later. Simultaneously, the Defence Forces keeps a close eye on the development of the regulations on the use of unmanned weapon systems. For the time being, it is estimated that human-commanded aerial vehicle units will be able to support air force operations starting from the 2030s. 

Participating in the MUM-T project is a part of the long-span work conducted by the Defence Forces to improve its know-how in technologies involving unmanned systems, counter-UAS measures and data transmission.  This work has been pursued with partner countries as well: for example, in the Bold Quest exercise in the spring of 2019 in Sodankylä, which was conducted to enhance and test the technical compatibility of various intelligence and fire support systems.