Global Defence Technology: Issue 89

12 July 2018 (Last Updated July 25th, 2018 15:13)

In this issue: F-35 purchase commitments at stake, the best tech and innovations from Eurosatory, US Triton drones head to the South China Sea, and more

Global Defence Technology: Issue 89

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The US is deploying Triton drones to Guam to assist with surveillance in the Pacific, where tension is bubbling. With Beijing and Washington racing to keep tabs on one another in the South China Sea, and China shipping surveillance and electronic warfare equipment to its controversial outposts , we review the situation and find out what the Triton drones will add to the US military’s arsenal in the region.

We also report on the biggest topics from Eurosatory, speak to Polaris Alpha about its multi-domain command and control system, and check in with DARPA’s work on aerial launch and recovery drone swarms.

Plus, we ask whether concerns about the high operating and maintenance costs of the F-35 fighter will have an impact on purchase commitments, review the latest developments in hypersonic missiles, and take a look at BAE Systems’ winning bid for Australia’s SEA 5000 frigates.

In this issue

The state of the world at arms in 2018: armaments, disarmament, and international security

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has released new data and analysis of the major aspects of arms control, peace and international security. We round up some of the findings.

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Is the US – China military gap closing?

Chinese vs US military posturing is nothing new, but as increased spending in China boosts technology innovation, should the US be concerned? We check in on the latest developments in an emerging arms race.

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Polaris Alpha takes command and control into new domains

Mission solutions developer Polaris Alpha has developed C2Core, a Multi-Domain Command and Control (MDC2) solution to deliver mission management, strategic assessment, and situational awareness across domains. Berenice Baker spoke to Marcus Featherston, executive vice president of mission solutions at Polaris Alpha, about what the company’s innovative full-spectrum approach offers.

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Eurosatory 2018 – the best of the tech

Military technology specialists, from defence prime contractors to SME manufacturers of the most niche widgets, descended on the outskirts of Paris over 11-15 June to showcase their latest wares at the Eurosatory defence and security event. Berenice Baker reports on a selection of eye-catching technology at the latest iteration of the event.

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America’s MQ-4C Triton drones and the battle to get a handle on the South China Sea

The US is deploying Triton drones to Guam to assist with surveillance in the South China Sea, where the battle for strategic supremacy with China threatens to escalate into direct confrontation. Julian Turner assesses the situation and what the drones will add to the US military’s arsenal in the Pacific.

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Gremlins are coming: Darpa enters Phase III of its UAV programme

The US’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is almost ready to unleash its Gremlins– a swarm of UAVs built to perform multiple tasks from intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), to the delivery of arms and other essential equipment in high risk areas. Talal Husseini takes a look at the ambitious program.

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Farnborough Airshow 2018: the line-up

As the industry gets ready for the Farnborough International Airshow, Talal Husseini takes a look at the technology, displays and demonstrations we can expect at this year’s event.

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The $1 trillion question: is the F-35 project too big to fail?

The United States Air Force is reportedly considering cancelling orders for as many as 590 F-35 fighter jets because the aircraft is proving too expensive to operate and maintain. Nevertheless with so much money already invested, production ploughs ahead. Julian Turner reports on the controversy and whether ongoing cost issues will affect purchase commitments.

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Sonic boom: advancements in hypersonic missiles spark excitement and scepticism
With an increase in military posturing and announcements of new strategic weapon technology, particularly by Russia and China, the US has seemingly stepped up its efforts in the hypersonic missile technology arena. Andrew Tunniclffe reports on the latest developments, including a recent $1bn contract award for US-based Lockheed Martin.

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SEA 5000: building Australia’s future frigates

With the contract for Australia’s new Project SEA 5000 warships awarded to BAE Systems, Elliot Gardner takes a closer look at the company’s proposal to replace the Royal Australian Navy’s eight Anzac-class frigates constructed between 1993 and 2004

Read more.

Next issue

Earlier this year NATO conducted the world’s largest live-fire cyber exercise, Locked Shield 2018, challenging participants to respond to and counter high-intensity attacks on the IT systems and critical infrastructure networks of a fictional country. As the threat of cyberattacks to critical infrastructure grows, we find out what live-fire cyber exercises involve and how they train military cyber specialists to defend national assets against attacks.

We also report on key tech from this year’s Eurosatory with a focus on innovation in land vehicles and amphibious vehicles, investigate the role of vehicle automation in the US Army’s ‘Big Six’ modernisation goals, and take a look at the development of the US Army’s new Meals, Ready to Eat.

Plus, we round up the big defence topics and views from the IFS World Conference earlier this year, and ask how the UK’s MoD will fund the Trident nuclear deterrent programme which was revealed to be almost £3bn over the available budget and looks set to further aggravate the UK’s growing equipment funding issues.