The Pentagon hosted its second technology demonstration in support of the Rapid Defense Experimentation Reserve (RDER) effort, the department announced Thursday.
Hosted Oct. 10-20 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, in partnership with the Indiana National Guard, the second Technology Readiness Experimentation 2023 (T-REX 23-2) conducted 11 “full scale assessments” of new warfighting technologies to measure “their effectiveness and capability for further development based on the Joint Force’s needs,” according to a DOD press release.
Notably, Australia and the United Kingdom also participated in the event. The release noted that the exercise aligned with the Pentagon’s efforts to develop multi-domain uncrewed and autonomous systems equipped with resilient communications and that the evaluated capabilities focused on “strategic overmatch capabilities” to support future operations in the Indo-Pacific and elsewhere.
If deemed successful, capabilities demonstrated at T-REX 23-2 could also move forward to the upcoming joint training exercises such as Northern Edge or Valiant Shield.
“Experimentation like T-REX allow us to better understand the next-generation technologies being developed across the defense innovation base so we can take steps to expedite their transition and fielding,” Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering David Honey said in a statement.
The T-REX demonstrations directly support the Pentagon’s RDER initiative being spearheaded by Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Heidi Shyu.
The Pentagon kicked off the demonstrations in May, which assessed signal devices, cyber protection, counterintelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities during a simulated disaster scenario. Some of those technologies were further put through the paces during this year’s Northern Edge joint training exercise series, the department said.
By conducting multiple technology “sprints,” RDER aims to identify and experiment with warfighting prototypes in order to more rapidly field new systems to combatant commands, close capability gaps and address joint warfighting requirements. Focus areas include resilient communication, joint command and control, contested logistics and “asymmetric capabilities,” according to Shyu.
The Defense Department requested $359 million for the program in fiscal 2023 and is now seeking $687 million in fiscal 2024, according to budget documents.
More than 300 members of government and industry observed T-REX 23-2 on Oct. 19, the Pentagon said. Along with demonstrations, 42 participants — including large and small businesses, combatant command leadership and representatives from the services — displayed additional technologies as part of a Prototype Technology Display.
“The display allowed leaders to see the latest RDER-aligned prototypes in-person, and for companies to help shape the development of front-line military technologies,” the release stated.