Global Defence Technology: Issue 75

In this issue: The race for satellite servicing robots in the US, Finland’s defence upgrades, replacing the Royal Navy’s Harpoon missiles, why NATO must adapt to survive, and more.


A DARPA project to develop a robot for satellite servicing has come under fire over claims that it violates national space policy guidelines that discourage public competition with commercial space activities. We look into the clash between government and private sector space projects and ask whether US space policy guidelines are holding back innovation.

We also investigate calls for an overhaul of NATO and ask what direction the organisation is likely to take, and explore which new opportunities Finland’s massive military upgrade plan will create for domestic and foreign manufacturers.

Plus, we look into Boston Dynamics’ uncertain future, ask why the US Air Force is struggling to retain its fighter jet pilots, and find out whether the Royal Navy will be facing a capability gap after the retirement of the Harpoon missiles.

In this issue

NATO: In Need of an Overhaul?
“Keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down” – that was how NATO’s first Secretary General, Lord Ismay, famously characterised the purpose of the newly founded organisation. Seventy years later, the objectives seem much less clear and questions have arisen over the alliance's future. Dr Gareth Evans reports.
Read the article.

Finland: Preparing for Change
Finland is gearing up for massive defence procurement as the main core systems of its air force and army need to be phased out in the 2020s. Dr Gareth Evans reports on the projects underway.
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Getting a Handle on Boston Dynamics’ Future
Boston Dynamics recently unveiled its latest creation, a wheeled robot named Handle built to hurdle obstacles at speed. Claire Apthorp asks whether, with the company reportedly up for sale, the design will ever make it into development.
Read the article.

Keeping the Force Flying
The US Air Force is facing a pilot shortage and ranks of fighter pilots have been hit hardest. Claire Apthorp investigates the factors leading to this decline and asks what the air force can do about it.
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The Race for Space Robots
A DARPA project to develop a robot for satellite servicing in space has come under fire over claims that it violates National Space Policy guidelines that discourage public competition with commercial space activities. Claire Apthorp investigates the debate.
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Future Firepower
Next year will see the Royal Navy’s Harpoon (Block 1C) missile – the sole heavyweight anti-ship missile system in its service – retire without replacement, leaving the UK with a serious capability gap. Dr Gareth Evans looks into potential replacements.
Read the article.

Next issue preview

Military procurement tends to be dominated by major international contractors, but in the UK there is a massive opportunity for SMEs to secure MoD contracts. In the next issue we find out how small players can get a foot in the door.

We also take a look at the latest simulation technology used in military training, such as the British Army’s next-generation Unit Based Virtual Training capability, and hear from Thales about the benefits of networking radios for dismounted combat.

Plus, we profile the contenders for the US Marine Corps’ Amphibious Combat Vehicle competition, hear about Dstl’s efforts to improve intelligence analysis, and find out about the challenges of managing logistics for massive defence programmes such as the construction of the UK’s Queen Elizabeth carrier.

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