YUMA, Ariz. - The Army's plan to completely overhaul how battles are faught, is being built and engineered at Yuma Proving Ground.
The most significant exercise to date just wrapped up in front of the Army's top brass. This is what the secretary of the Army, Ryan McCarthy, says is the most important thing they're doing.
In the backdrop of dusty mountains, under extreme heat, the future of warfare is being crafted and tested like never before.
"This to me is defining what the future is," said Col. Patrick McFall, commander, U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground.
It's called Project Convergence.
"This was just an idea eight months ago, so to pull this together in eight months has been a phenomenal accomplishment," said Gen. Mike Murray, U.S. Army Futures Command.
In rare behind the battlefield access, FOX 10 was allowed on base at Yuma Proving Ground while the secretary of the Army, the chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, and more than 60 top military leaders tested artificial intelligence, autonomy, and robotics in warfare. The goal is to reshape how battles are tackled by ground, air, sea, cyber, and space.
"We're taking space-based and aerial-based reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition and we're using A.I. in the cyberspace domain to take information.. sort through data and find targets," explained Col John Rafferty of U.S. Army Futures Command.
Proving just how technologically advanced all of this equipment is, we can't show you inside a lot of the tents. We aren't allowed in those tents.
Inside of a self-propelled howitzer, the the doors open, but we can't show you the inside of it, but all of these are prototypes for the future of warfare.
The extended range canon artillery system will more than triple the current range from 30 to 100 kilometers.
Video provided by the Army shows drones being launched from helicopters to bring A.I. and robotics to war.
The Army says this week of exercises in Yuma proved it's possible to take this technology to battle eventually.
"It's been something that's always been a little fuzzy. It was a concept, but now we're starting to cement people's ideas on what it can be.. what's the real concept of convergence across all these domains," said Rafferty.
The secretary of the Army revealed to us that next year, these exercises in Yuma will include the Navy and Air Force.
"This is more than just hardware being tested in the desert. The Army's been on a journey for more than three years now," said McCarthy.
During the testing, the teams in Yuma communicate with counterparts in Washington to nail down targets and strike.
According to the Futures Command leader, all this will allow them to make decisions in war 10 times faster than they do now.
"We missed the target a couple times. But like I said, the whole point of today was to be able to quickly acquire targets and pass the data to whatever that shooter was and that all happened and then we had munition malfunctions and we were off a couple times to where the rounds actually impacted but those problems were easy to fix to what we're trying to do," said Murray.
The chief of Staff of the U.S. Army said this new technology will be transformational for the next 40 years.
"The Army's going to take advantage of technology, take advantage of machine to machine data exchange. The soldier will remain the centerpiece of the United States Army, but we're going to take advantage of the technology that we're seeing to get transformational effects," said Gen. James McConville.
And all this -- the future -- in Yuma, Arizona.
"It chose Yuma to do a learning event. And that's a great honor and we need to relish in that honor and say thank you," said McFall.
Army officials say in two years, coalition partners from the U.K., Australia and more will also be coming to see how the future of tech can be used across countries.