Commandos embrace technology in first ‘innovation day’

Royal Marines swapped daring for DARE as they invited technology and industry leaders into their Plymouth home to solve battlefield problems.

3 Commando Brigade and 30 Commando IX Group hosted their first innovation day, asking the best and the brightest from civvy street to showcase some of their latest kit which might be useful on the field of battle.

And commandos from marines to majors had the chance to pitch tech ideas to a Dragons Den-esque panel – with the promise of cash to turn successful bids into reality.

Brigade Commander Brigadier Gwyn Jenkins and the Navy’s Chief Technology Officer Colonel Dan Cheeseman, who attended the event at Stonehouse barracks both underlined the importance of innovation in an unstable world – and that the Corps was determined to be at the spearhead of technological thinking.

The Royal Marines have thrived for more than 350 years due to their inherent ability to adapt

Capt George Eatwell RM

A multitude of kit and equipment was on display from the leading technology firms covering communication systems and advanced sensors to cutting-edge vehicles and weaponry.

“The Royal Marines have thrived for more than 350 years due to their inherent ability to adapt and overcome,” explained Capt George Eatwell of 30 Commando IX Group which specialises in battlefield intelligence.

“The complex threats of the 21st Century demand commandos continue their evolution, so the event showed how Royal Marines might fight in the future against an increasingly technologically-advanced adversary.”

The Dragon’s Den-style presentation saw three successful bids awarded up to £5,000 funding to develop their ideas, having impressed the DARE (Discovery, Assessment and Rapid Exploitation) team who are looking at the way today’s technology can help tomorrow’s Royal Navy.

They’ve already backed a man overboard rescue system using drones and lighting to improve safety for sailors working on flight decks. Among the Royal Marine ideas which received the green light, one which significantly improve beach reconnaissance, key to the marines’ amphibious operations.

Based on the success of the inaugural innovation day, the brigade intends it to become an annual event.