Global Defence Technology: Issue 63

In this issue: The US Marine Corps under pressure, what’s holding back military robotics, investigating drone crashes, the potential of synthetic biology in new material research, detection tech for dirty bombs, and more.


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A senior figure in the US Marine Corps has warned that marine aviation could break under the pressure put on the force, while January's 2016 Marine Corps Aviation Plan highlighted the service's struggles to keep its planes flying and its pilots trained. Faced with dwindling budgets for equipment upgrades and longer duration deployments, are the Marines staffed and equipped to meet future requirements?

Also in this issue we find out why, despite millions being spent on their development, few military robots have made it to the field so far.

Plus, we investigate the reasons behind a growing number of drone crashes, ask why the UK's Dstl is turning to synthetic biology in the search for new materials, and take a look at DARPA's new TERN technology, which will allow UAVs to take off and land from smaller vessels in rough seas to achieve efficient long-duration flights.

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In this issue

Marines Under Pressure
The US Marine Corps fills a unique role, but in a time of budget cutbacks and longer duration deployments, is the service still fit for duty? Dr Gareth Evans finds out.
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Unlocking the Power of Synthetic Biology
The rapidly evolving field of synthetic biology has caught the interest of militaries, with significant defence spending paving the way for innovative ideas. Dr Gareth Evans explores the UK's research efforts.
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Where Have All the Robots Gone?
Huge amounts of military spending have gone into robotic development, from pack mules to drones and exoskeletons, but very few have made it to the field so far. Dr Gareth Evans finds out what's holding military robots back.
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Closing the Net on Terrorism
DARPA's SIGMA programme is developing a portable radiation detection system that can be used to form large networks to detect anomalies that could indicate an act of terrorism. Claire Apthorp finds out more.
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Room for Improvement
With recent reports indicating a growing number of military UAV crashes, Claire Apthorp investigates the causes and asks how potential problems with the technology can be ironed out as the demand for drones grows.
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TERN Takes Off
DARPA is moving ahead with a full scale demonstrator of TERN, a technology that will allow UAVs to take off and land from confined spaces in rough seas. Claire Apthorp reports.
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Next issue preview

In its most recent defence budget, the Australian Government announced an increase in defence spending of an additional $29.9bn over the next decade. We take a look at the country's defence spending priorities in detail and ask how they reflect the changing range of security threats Australia is facing at home and abroad.

We also explore the strategic reasons behind Japan's recent push into arms manufacturing, and look into Fujitsu's use of information technology to increase efficiency in defence.

Plus, we investigate the British-French £1.54bn project to build a prototype of the Future Combat Air System, ask how far the UK Ministry of Defence's further funding for the Successor submarine programme will go, and delve into the history of cryptology and its potential in the age of cyber warfare.

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