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While the US dominates defence technology spending and exports, some experts are warning that dwindling budgets are creating a climate that discourages R&D investment. Meanwhile, in China the industry is booming, creating a breeding pool for competitive innovation. We ask whether the US needs to change its approach to military innovation in order to keep a competitive edge.

We also check out the contenders for the US Navy’s new unmanned aerial refuelling system, take a look at the success of the Royal Air Force’s award-winning apprenticeship programme, and hear about the trends in defence logistics for the year ahead. Plus, we find out about the latest developments in regenerative medicine on the battlefield, and look back on the lessons learned during a century of submarine rescue operations.

In this issue

Is the US military machine losing its innovation edge to China?

America has far outstripped its rivals when it comes to defence innovation, but there are signs that this seems to be slowing and could possibly be in danger of stalling altogether, a situation that could open the door to China. Dr Gareth Evans reports.

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Technical, tactical and political developments in defence logistics for 2018

Evan Butler-Jones, director for defence product line at IFS’s Aviation & Defence business unit, tells us about trends and developments in defence logistics for the year ahead.

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Regenerative medicine on the battlefield

Huge leaps in battlefield medicine have resulted in far more lives saved, but many more soldiers are returning home with life-changing disabilities. Dr Gareth Evans investigates how military medical departments are working on the next tranche of breakthrough, the ability to regenerate body parts.

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RAF Apprentices: a bright future ahead

In January, at an impressive award ceremony at The Grosvenor hotel in London, it was revealed that the Royal Air Force was The Open University sponsored Macro Employer of the Year 2017 at the National Apprenticeship Awards. Claire Apthorp takes a look at the programme.

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Stingray: the long road to a successful navy UAS

The US Navy recently announced that the carriers George H.W. Bush and Dwight D. Eisenhower will be the first to field the MQ-25A Stingray unmanned aerial refuelling system. Claire Apthorp examines the project in advance of the request for proposals.

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Back from the Depths: A Century of Submarine Rescue

A century on from some of the world’s first successful submarine rescues, dangers still abound despite massive advances in technology and international co-operation. In this timeline, Dr. Gareth Evans explores how far we’ve come and how far there still is to go.

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Next issue

The UK’s Dstl has been working with the Marines on the country’s biggest annual chemical warfare exercise, Toxic Dagger. We take a look inside the exercise to find out how military personnel trains for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks.

Also in the next issue, we hear from telecoms provider BT how it is working with the military to improve connectivity on bases, take a look at the UK’s new missile defence system, Sky Sabre, which will enter service in 2020, and examine the air capability goals set out NATO’s new Alliance Joint Air Power Strategy

Plus, we check out the contenders for the US Navy’s Future Guided Missile Frigate contract, and find out how a ‘virtual dry dock’ with advanced simulation capabilities is helping engineers in the construction of the Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers.