Global Defence Technology: Issue 71

Keeping the peace in the Arctic region, a new satellite service from Airbus, closing the GPS gap with wearable sensors, instant detection for armour damage, high-speed drones for fighter aircraft support, progress of Australia’s new submarines, and more.


As climate change makes the Arctic region and its natural resources more accessible, overlapping claims by the five Arctic littoral states have raised concerns about future conflict in the region. All five have started to strengthen their military presence and capabilities in the Arctic, but their actions suggest that the focus remains on the defence of current national territories. We ask whether there is reason for concern surrounding overlapping maritime claims in the Arctic and a potential new cold war emerging in the region.

We also take a look at wearable sensors helping to close the GPS gap in urban territory for frontline troops and check in with the UK Dstl’s efforts to develop worn damage detectors for soldier armour. Plus, we explore the potential of high-speed drones in autonomous roles to support fighter aircraft, find out what Airbus’ new satellite image library offers to defence customers and check in on the progress of Australia’s Future Submarine Programme.

In this issue

Arctic Interests
Climate change has thrust the Arctic firmly into the strategic and economic limelight, but are overlapping claims by the Arctic littoral states a cause for concern about future conflict? Dr Gareth Evans takes a look at strategic interests and military capabilities in the region.
Read the article.

Support from Space
Airbus Defence and Space is targeting the defence, intelligence and security community with a new satellite image library offering constantly updated imagery at high resolution. Dr Gareth Evans finds out what the platform has to offer.
Read the article.

Closing the GPS Gap
The UK Dstl and industry partners have developed dismounted close combat sensors which enable GPS-free navigation, automatic threat detection and information sharing for frontline troops. Claire Apthorp finds out more about the technology.
Read the article.

Instant Detection
Plextek has created a detection system to immediately identify any damage to a soldier’s armour while still on the battlefield. Claire Apthorp finds out how the technology can reduce the need for bulk routine X-rays of soldier armour.
Read the article.

The Unmanned Wingman
Kratos Defense & Security Solutions has secured a contract to explore the use of high-speed drones to support fourth and fifth generation fighter aircraft for the US military. Claire Apthorp takes a look at the work underway.
Read the article.

Building Australia’s Barracuda
Australia’s Future Submarine Programme is making good progress with construction set to begin in 2022. Dr Gareth Evans takes a look at the design and the preparation phase for the $38bn project.
Read the article.

Next issue preview

NATO’s Polycom technology provides command and control capability for meetings, international communication and operational mission collaboration across NATO’s highly protected restricted network. We take a look inside the NATO’s comms operations and the challenges they face.

We also report from the International Armoured Vehicles conference in London, take a look at the world’s first drone-based explosive detection sensor, and explore the future of UAVs I maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Plus, we review the latest in airborne refuelling technology, and ask whether the UK’s Royal Navy has reached a dangerous level of unpreparedness as old vessels are scheduled to leave the service and the future of replacement programmes remains unclear.

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