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Global Defence Technology: Issue 55 | September 2015

With demand for new unmanned aerial systems at an all-time high, major defence players from France, Germany and Italy have teamed up for the development of a European-built medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV. As the definition study gets underway, we speak to Airbus Defence and Space about its work with Dassault Aviation and Finmeccanica to deliver a MALE drone that meets the future operational requirements of different European nations.

Earlier this year Airbus announced that its Skynet 5A military communications satellite, which is used by the UK MoD, will be moved further east to provide coverage of the Asia Pacific region for the first time. We speak to the company to find out more about this strategic move.

We also explore the use of behaviour prediction software as a counter-terrorism tool, and take a look at the US Army’s new tech solutions that will make forward operating bases less dependent on supply convoys. Plus, we check out potential contenders for the US Navy’s upcoming UCLASS programme and find out how a new approach to survivability modelling in naval combat could help inform the design of future vessels.

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In this issue

Predicting the Unpredictable
Defence and security agencies are increasingly turning to behaviour prediction software as a counterterrorism tool. Gary Peters finds out how far this technology has advanced and what it can do.
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Safer Supplies
The US Army is evaluating 60 new technologies to help reduce fuel and water use at forward operating bases in a bid to lower the number of convoys needed and hours soldiers are exposed to threats. Simon Williams and Alex Flather report.
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Alpha MALE
Airbus, Dassault Aviation and Finmeccanica are collaborating on a next-generation European medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) drone. Julian Turner finds out more from Thomas Reinartz of Airbus Defence and Space.
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A Strategic Move
Airbus is relocating its Skynet 5A military communications satellite further east to provide coverage to the Asia Pacific region for the first time. Claire Apthorp finds out more about the reasons behind the move.
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UCLASS Kicks Off
After years of uncertainty, deliberation and delay, the competition for the US Navy’s much debated unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance strike (UCLASS) acquisition programme is about ready to begin. Dr Gareth Evans reports.
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How to Take a Hit
A new model for determining survivability on US Navy ships will use a virtual crew to run detailed injury prediction scenarios. Dr Gareth Evans finds out how the project aims to improve ship design.
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Next issue preview

US Air Force officials have signalled that a contract for the next-generation long-range strike bomber could be awarded by the end of the year. As the decision is made between Northrop Grumman, manufacturer of the B-2, and a Boeing and Lockheed Martin team, we find out which contender is best placed to meet the air force’s requirements.

We also check in on new developments in alternative fuels for UAVs, find out how the UK Dstl and QintiQ are collaborating to improve the working environment for aircrew, and take a look at the implementation of the US Navy’s new Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air system, which promises to dramatically increase the navy’s effective reach and strike capability. Plus, we get an inside look at the British Forces Broadcasting Services and find out why the military exercise Operation Jade Helm has sparked controversy and conspiracy theories in the US.

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