Global Defence Technology Issue 19

Defying criticism from certain members of Congress, the US Navy has pledged to continue its research into the use of biofuels to power vessels and aircraft. Several US Senators are calling it a chronic waste of money that they feel could be better spent on fleet replenishment. We examine the political wrangling that threatens to stall the biofuel programme.

We also speak to Honeywell about new materials that could reduce the weight of soldiers’ helmets offering the same ballistic and impact protection. We also look at new research into the causes of traumatic brain injury that could revolutionise future head protection for soldiers.

The French GDA unveiled a whole range of new technology at Eurosatory. We take a look at the new lightweight exoskeleton, Exosquellette. Finally, as the world’s navies descend upon Hawaii for RIMPAC 2012 we analyse some key and emerging issues for this year’s exercise.

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The Great Green Debate
Following the record $12m purchase of algal-based fuels to power the Great Green Fleet for the RIMPAC 2012 military exercise, several US Senators are speaking of a chronic waste of money that they feel could be better spent on fleet replenishment. We examine the political problems that could stall the biofuel programme.
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Head On
Research into materials and blast effects aims to better protect combatants from head injuries. We investigate how industry and academia are influencing the design of future helmets.
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The X Men
A new exoskeleton claims to be lighter and easier to use than rival systems. We examine how the versatile system lightens the load for infantry soldiers and Special Forces.
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Air Force:

Research Revolution
French government-funded research is creating novel air force technology. We ask Jean-Paul Bruyant of military aerospace research organisation ONERA about the technological breakthroughs for defence and civil aerospace.
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Rise of the Drones
Research to enable dogfights between UAVs will see 100 combat drones battle it out in a 2015 competition. We investigate the technical and human challenges involved in the project.
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RIMPAC 2012 Recap
Over 40 ships, six submarines and 200 aircraft took part in the largest international maritime warfare exercise this year. We analyse some key issues of the event.
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Next issue preview

With recession-struck governments slashing spending, the private sector has become the lynchpin of the military aerospace sector. We explore the role of government-industry collaboration in maintaining operational capability. We also get a tour of Thales’ Hawkei vehicle prototype, and look at a new range of rapidly deployable and resistant soil-filled barriers.

Moreover, we check in on the progress of Boeing’s F-X fighter programme, find out how new technologies could reduce the noise of jet engines, and look at the US Navy’s new WMD detection system using free electron lasers fitted to ships or aircraft.

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