The T World’s Largest Arms Fair R. Chan­drakanth

The host coun­try, Bri­tain is all set to ex­pand its ex­port foot­print and this was out­lined by the De­fence Sec­re­tary, Sir Michael Fal­lon who sug­gested that Bri­tain would look for more of the pie of the in­ter­na­tional de­fence mar­ket, a de­mand driven by in­crea


TO­TAL WORLD MIL­I­TARY EX­PEN­DI­TURE rose to $1686 bil­lion in 2016, an in­crease of 0.4 per cent in real terms from 2015, ac­cord­ing to new fig­ures from the Stock­holm In­ter­na­tional Peace Re­search In­sti­tute (SIPRI). Mil­i­tary spend­ing in North Amer­ica saw its first an­nual in­crease since 2010, while spend­ing in West­ern Europe grew for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year.

The United States re­mains the coun­try with the high­est an­nual mil­i­tary ex­pen­di­ture in the world. US mil­i­tary spend­ing grew by 1.7 per cent be­tween 2015 and 2016 to $611 bil­lion. Mil­i­tary ex­pen­di­ture by China, which was the sec­ond largest spender in 2016, in­creased by 5.4 per cent to $215 bil­lion, a much lower rate of growth than in pre­vi­ous years. Rus­sia in­creased its spend­ing by 5.9 per cent in 2016 to $69.2 bil­lion, mak­ing it the third largest spender. Saudi Ara­bia was the third largest spender in 2015 but dropped to fourth po­si­tion in 2016. Spend­ing by Saudi Ara­bia fell by 30 per cent in 2016 to $63.7 bil­lion, de­spite its con­tin­ued in­volve­ment in re­gional wars. In­dia’s mil­i­tary ex­pen­di­ture grew by 8.5 per cent in 2016 to $55.9 bil­lion, mak­ing it the fifth largest spender.

This is in­dica­tive of the trend in in­creased arms ac­qui­si­tions. This ob­vi­ous trend was re­flected at the world’s largest arms fair in Lon­don – DSEI which stands for De­fence and Se­cu­rity Equip­ment In­ter­na­tional (DSEI) which con­cluded on Septem­ber 15. The event hosted over 1,600 ex­hibitors from 54 coun­tries, grow­ing ev­ery year, though there were protests out­side, op­pos­ing the pro­lif­er­a­tion of arms.

The host coun­try, Bri­tain is all set to ex­pand its ex­port foot­print and this was out­lined by the De­fence Sec­re­tary, Sir Michael Fal­lon who sug­gested that Bri­tain would look for more of the pie of the in­ter­na­tional de­fence mar­ket, de­mand driven by in­creas­ing war and ter­ror.

“As we look, ex­it­ing the Euro­pean Union, to go in­creas­ingly global, we see our equip­ment as a plat­form for even stronger part­ner­ship,” Mr Fal­lon told del­e­gates, in­clud­ing in­ter­na­tional mil­i­tary com­man­ders. “As we look to life post Brexit and spread our wings fur­ther across the world, it’s high time we do more to com­pete for a share of this in­ter­na­tional ex­port mar­ket.”

Mr Fal­lon said the UK se­cured de­fence or­ders to­talling £5.9bn in 2016 and is al­ready the world’s sec­ond-largest weapons ex­porter. “But now it’s time to build ex­porta­bil­ity into our think­ing from the off, align­ing it with the re­quire­ments of in­ter­na­tional clients,” he added.

New weapons in­clude Dread­nought sub­marines, Apache at­tack he­li­copters, Ajax ar­moured ve­hi­cles, F35s and frigates. The UK is also work­ing to de­velop ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence for use in war­fare, in­clud­ing a “ship’s brain”, as well as ad­vanced ro­bots. Mr Fal­lon an­nounced Bri­tain is buy­ing 56 bomb dis­posal ro­bots from Har­ris Cor­po­ra­tion, as well as com­mis­sion­ing a £10m “ac­tive pro­tec­tion sys­tem” for ar­moured ve­hi­cles fre­quently tar­geted by mis­siles and IEDs.

Lock­heed Martin’s Mod­u­lar Turret

Lock­heed Martin UK show­cased the 40 mm Mod­u­lar Turret, de­signed to up-arm the War­rior in­fantry fight­ing ve­hi­cle (IFV). Lock­heed demon­strated the po­ten­tial for up­grad­ing and cus­tomis­ing the turret to suit cus­tomer needs. The turret is the re­sult of sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment from Lock­heed Martin and em­ploys com­mon sys­tems from the Ajax re­con­nais­sance ve­hi­cle in the United King­dom and the Jaguar ar­moured fight­ing ve­hi­cle from France. The ad­di­tion of an ex­ter­nally launched Javelin mis­sile pro­vides an en­gage­ment en­ve­lope of 4 km as well as gives the plat­form a cred­i­ble fire­power ca­pa­bil­ity against main bat­tle tanks

MBDA-led Con­sor­tium Un­veils High En­ergy Laser Can­non

A key com­po­nent of a high en­ergy laser can­non be­ing pro­duced un­der a £30 mil­lion con­tract for the UK Min­istry of De­fence was un­veiled at DSEI. Un­der de­vel­op­ment by an MBDA-led con­sor­tium which in­cludes Qine­tiq, Leonardo-Fin­mec­ca­nica, Arke, BAE Sys­tems, Mar­shall and GKN, the Dragon­fire sys­tem will be a 50kW class di­rected en­ergy weapon de­signed for use on both land and sea.

Laser weapons have key ad­van­tages over tra­di­tional sys­tems: the mu­ni­tion is po­ten­tially un­lim­ited, and it op­er­ates at the speed of light so the time from when you say “fire” to the weapon hit­ting its tar­get is more or less in­stan­ta­neous.

Oshkosh’s JLTV

With a sale of the Joint Light Tac­ti­cal Ve­hi­cle to the Bri­tish mil­i­tary seem­ingly in the bag, plat­form-builder Oshkosh De­fense show­cased what the ma­chine might look like when the Bri­tish Army gets its hands on it. Oshkosh fit­ted its show ve­hi­cle with an in-ser­vice Kongs­berg re­mote weapon sta­tion, AmSafe Brid­port anti-rocket-pro­pelled grenade ar­mor and a Har­ris ra­dio.

ST Ki­net­ics Bronco for Va­ri­ety of Mis­sion

Sin­ga­pore’s ST Ki­net­ics show­cased its new­est ver­sion of its Bronco all-ter­rain tracked car­rier ve­hi­cle de­signed to sup­port a wide va­ri­ety of mis­sion sets through easy re­con­fig­u­ra­tion. First fielded in 2001 to the Sin­ga­pore Army in 2001, ST Ki­net­ics has pro­duced sev­eral hun­dred of its first-ver­sion ve­hi­cles with more than 20 vari­ants. The sec­ond ver­sion of the ve­hi­cle was built for the Bri­tish Army — known in the UK as the Warthog — for op­er­a­tions in Afghanistan. The ve­hi­cle fleet was with­drawn from the coun­try in 2014. Bronco 3 is “the com­bi­na­tion of the best of the lessons that we have learned in Bronco 1 and 2,” Phillip Ou, an ST Ki­net­ics ex­ec­u­tive, told pressper­sons.

Leonardo’s Icarus

An ac­tive pro­tec­tion sys­tem elec­tronic ar­chi­tec­ture that will al­low the Bri­tish Army to tai­lor its sen­sors and coun­ter­mea­sures to meet a chang­ing threat was demon­strated in a £10 mil­lion ($13 mil­lion) deal be­tween a Leonardo-led team and the gov­ern­ment’s De­fence Science and Tech­nol­ogy Lab­o­ra­tory. The tech­nol­ogy de­mon­stra­tor pro­gramme, known as Icarus, will lay the ground­work for the po­ten­tial de­ploy­ment of the ca­pa­bil­ity across the Army’s ve­hi­cle fleet, ac­cord­ing to Leonardo.

Cob­ham Launches ICE

Cob­ham launched a new In­te­grated Com- mu­ni­ca­tions En­vi­ron­ment (ICE) prod­uct range which pro­vides ma­jor im­prove­ments to ex­ist­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions sys­tems on plat­forms. The new ICE prod­ucts in­clude a multi-ra­dio interference can­cel­la­tion sys­tem and new high-per­for­mance multi-port V/UHF an­tenna.

The in­te­gra­tion of mul­ti­ple ra­dios and other com­mu­ni­ca­tions sys­tems on a sin­gle plat­form or in a con­gested en­vi­ron­ment causes ra­dio fre­quency interference which can dra­mat­i­cally re­duce the ef­fec­tive ra­dio range. This in­creas­ingly op­er­a­tional prob­lem is be­ing ex­ac­er­bated by the in­crease of on-board com­mu­ni­ca­tions sys­tems which can mean they are com­pet­ing for data and spec­trum al­lo­ca­tion.

BAE Sys­tem un­veils NAUTIS 5

BAE Sys­tems un­veiled NAUTIS 5, the lat­est ver­sion of its flag­ship mine coun­ter­mea­sures (MCM) sys­tem. NAUTIS stands for Naval Au­ton­omy Tac­ti­cal In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem and is used to counter the ever present threat of naval mines. It is in­stalled on board over 65 ships from seven navies across the world, in­clud­ing the Royal Navy’s Hunt and Sandown class mine counter mea­sure ves­sels (MCMVs).

NAUTIS 5 is the re­sult of BAE Sys­tems’ long term in­vest­ment in MCM ca­pa­bil­i­ties. It in­cor­po­rate a num­ber of new and im­proved fea­tures in­clud­ing: im­proved com­mand and con­trol for au­tonomous and off-board sys­tems, which can be eas­ily in­te­grated thanks to a new open ar­chi­tec­ture, a new and im­proved hu­man-computer in­ter­face util­is­ing the lat­est graph­i­cal tech­nolo­gies and em­bed­ded on­board train­ing.

Thales Un­manned Tech­nol­ogy De­vel­op­ment

Thales an­nounced that it would de­velop fu­ture au­tonomous and un­manned tech­nol­ogy across air and sea by in­vest­ing in two new UK-based tri­als and train­ing cen­tres. Thales will in­vest £7 mil­lion (€8 mil­lion). The new £1 mil­lion fa­cil­ity in Turn­chapel Wharf, Ply­mouth will be Thales’s mar­itime au­ton­omy tri­als and train­ing cen­tre. This water­front fa­cil­ity will pro­vide ac­cess to tri­als ar­eas for de­vel­op­ment of cut­ting edge mar­itime au­tonomous sys­tems and po­si­tion Thales at the cen­tre of fu­ture mar­itime au­ton­omy ca­pa­bil­ity. The fa­cil­ity will act as the key mar­itime in­te­gra­tion, test and eval­u­a­tion cen­tre for the com­bined United King­dom and French Mar­itime Mine Counter Mea­sures (MMCM) Pro­gramme.

PHO­TO­GRAPHS: DSEI, Lock­heed Martin, Oshkosh

(Top) A view of the fair; (mid­dle) Lock­heed Martin’s War­rior IFV; (above) Oshkosh JLTV.

PHO­TO­GRAPHS: ST Engi­neer­ing, Cob­ham, MBDA

Cob­ham’s new GD2049 multi-port an­tenna in­stalled on a Thales Hawkei ve­hi­cle

MBDA’s Dragon­fire Laser Turret was un­veiled at DSEI 2017

All Ter­rain Tracked Car­rier Bronco by ST Ki­net­ics

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