Global Defence Technology: Issue 42

In this issue: Russia’s threat to cut the US off from vital rocket engine supplies, Michelin’s new anti-landmine tyre, the best designs for military flying trucks, new criticism of the F-35’s stealth capabilities, the grand entrance of HMS Queen Elizabeth and more.


Global Defence Technology: Issue 42 | August 2014

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin sent shockwaves through the US space industry when he announced that Russia would no longer supply the RD-180 rocket engines used by the US to lift vital national security satellites into space. With only two years' worth of rockets left we find out how the country got itself into this risky situation and whether it is too late to find a non-Russian alternative in time.

We also take a look at Michelin's new anti-landmine tyre which allows specialised clearance vehicles to drive over mines without triggering them and find out how GE's SmartSignal maintenance system promises to predict equipment failure weeks before it happens. Moreover, we review the most promising concepts for military hybrid 'roadable aircraft' and investigate new criticism of the F-35's stealth capabilities.

Following an exciting month for the UK's new Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier, which saw the vessel named and floated in open water for the first time, we take a look at the signal this mega-project sends to Britain's allies and adversaries. We also review the geopolitics behind this year's RIMPAC exercise which saw China and India participate but Thailand and Russia absent.

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In this issue

Russian Rockets and the US Space Conundrum
Russia recently announced it would stop supplying the rocket engines used by the US to launch vital national security satellites into space. Grant Turnbull finds out whether it is too late for the US to find an alternative.
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Treading Softly
Michelin's new military anti-landmine tyre runs at very low pressure and presents the longest possible footprint, enabling a specialised vehicle to drive across a minefield without triggering detection systems. Berenice Baker learns more.
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Fix Before Failure
Health and usage monitoring systems are making the maintenance of military platforms more intelligent based on typical behaviour and live monitoring. Berenice Baker finds out how GE's SmartSignal aims to go a step further, predicting a failure weeks in advance.
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Flying Trucks Take Off
Military hybrid flying trucks may offer a future solution to the problem of delivering troops and logistics to otherwise inaccessible regions. Berenice Baker asks how they improve on current alternatives such as heavy lift helicopters.
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The Stealth Dilemma
Already plagued by spiralling costs and delays, the F-35 programme has come under fire again as industry and military insiders question the fighter's stealth performance. Grant Turnbull investigates what this could mean for the US's electronic warfare capabilities.
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An Attribute of a Great Power
The naming of HMS Queen Elizabeth was a chance to show off the Royal Navy's newest flagship vessel and send a clear message to allies and adversaries alike - Britain is back as a maritime power. Grant Turnbull reports.
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Practice and Politics
RIMPAC sees ships, submarines and aircraft from 22 nations train together for an intensive four-week period. This year, China and India participated while Thailand and Russia were absent in light of recent political events. Grant Turnbull takes a look at the geopolitics behind the world's largest naval exercise.
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Next issue preview

Despite Paris's condemnation of Russia's actions in Ukraine, a €1.2bn Mistral warship deal is set to go ahead; a move that has provoked criticism by NATO and EU member states. We investigate France's position between foreign policy and financial fallout.

We also find out how military innovation is contributing to progress in cleaner energy technology, take a look at groundbreaking US research into regenerative medicine that could allow wounded soldiers to grow back muscle and tissue and visit D3O's laboratory to find out about its patented armour material.

Moreover, we review the US's strategy of upgrading its fleet of vintage nuclear bombers, find out how manufacturers such as Boeing and Sikorsky are reviving legacy platforms with optionally manned capabilities and ask whether BAE's multi-function radar, which forms part of the naval air defence system on the Royal Navy's Type 45 destroyers, could also play a role in ballistic missile defence.

Don't miss our armoured vehicles special issue, out on 25 September.

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