2016: The year's biggest Army Technology stories

Obama unveiled new executive action to reduce gun violence, Australia planned to invest $195bn in military acquisition, and the US Department of Defense (DoD) approved the landmark decision to open all US military combat positions for women. Army-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from 2016.


Obama unveils new executive action to reduce gun violence

US President Barack Obama introduced a new gun control strategy to curb violence in the nation.

More than 30,000 deaths are recorded in the US each year as a result of gun violence, while more than 4 million Americans were victims of assaults, robberies, and other gun-related crimes in the last decade.

The new strategy adopted by the US Government recommended strictly organised background checks to be conducted by licensed sellers.

Australia announces plans to invest $195bn in military acquisition

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) released a white paper highlighting the government's $195bn investment plans for the country's defence capabilities over the coming decade.

The country decided to increase the Australian Defence Force's (ADF) workforce to approximately 62,400.

The Australian Army were to receive new equipment for soldiers and combat engineering, as well as a new generation of armoured combat reconnaissance and infantry fighting vehicles.

US DoD approves decision to open military combat positions for women

The US Department of Defense (DoD) approved the landmark decision to open all US military combat positions for women.

Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said: "The Defense Secretary Ash Carter formally approved the final implementation plans prepared by the military services and US Special Operations Command to integrate women into all combat roles."

According to a statement released by the DoD, Carter said that the department must handle the change 'the right way, because the combat effectiveness of the world's finest fighting force is paramount'.

China test fires DF-41 ballistic missile

China reportedly test-fired a new variant of its 10,000km-range Dongfeng missile, near the disputed South China Sea.

Unidentified Pentagon officials were quoted by the Washington Free Beacon as saying that China tested its DF-41 missile with two vehicles.

According to the South China Morning Post, testing for the mobile intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) showed that China was reinforcing its nuclear deterrent.

Obama lifts arms ban on Vietnam

US President Barack Obama lifted the ban on the sale of lethal weapons to Vietnam.

The move aimed to enhance defence cooperation between the two countries.

The New York Times quotes Obama as saying: "The decision to lift the ban was not based on China or any other considerations.

"It was based on our desire to complete what has been a lengthy process of moving toward normalisation with Vietnam."

UK MoD calls on Europe to increase security efforts

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) asked Europe to increase its efforts against terrorism and migration.

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon confirmed the UK will play a proactive role in tackling security threats across the country.

Fallon said that the UK would work to address challenges ranging from mass migration to cyber-attacks.

Military coup attempt to oust government fails in Turkey

The Turkish Armed Forces' failed to take control of the country by suspending the constitution.

The military tried to oust Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by allegedly planning assassinations and bomb attacks in the country, BBC reported.

The coup attempt failed after the military-imposed curfew was strongly opposed by the president's supporters.

Saudi Arabia requests $1.15bn sale of battle tanks and vehicles from US

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of the $1.15bn potential sale of M1A2S Abrams main battle tanks (MBT) and M88Al/A2 heavy equipment recovery combat utility lift evacuation system (HERCULES) armoured recovery vehicles (ARV) to Saudi Arabia.

Under the sale, Saudi Arabia requested 153 M1Al/A2 tanks for conversion to 133 M1A2S Saudi Abrams configured MBTs, as well as 20 battle damage replacements, 20 M88A l/A2 Hercules ARVs and 169 AN/VAS-5 driver vision enhancer-Abrams (DVE-A).

The sale also covered 153 M2 .50-calibre machine guns, 266 7.62mm M240 machine guns, 153 M250 smoke grenade launchers, 133 AN/PVS-7B night vision devices, 4,256 rounds of M865 training ammunition, and 2,394 rounds of M831Al training ammunition.

BAE launches new Bradley fighting vehicle prototype

BAE Systems launched its next-generation Bradley fighting vehicle prototype at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) annual meeting in Washington, DC.

The new Bradley featured an upgraded turret, as well as suspension, targeting sensor and network connectivity improvements made during Engineering Change Proposal modernisation efforts.

The vehicle's suspension was upgraded to enhance its mobility for Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) operations, according to the company.

UK launches £1.9bn National Cyber Security Strategy to prevent cyber-attacks

The UK Government launched its new £1.9bn National Cyber Security Strategy, which set out decisive actions to protect the economy and encourage industries to avoid damaging cyber-attacks.

The new plan almost doubled the funding commitments of the first strategy, which ran from 2011, and outlined the way the UK will use automated defences to safeguard citizens and businesses against growing cyber threats.

This plan also supported the country’s growing cyber-security industry and proposed strategies to deter cyber-attacks.