China has been buying and adapting Russian naval technologies as it introduces new ships to the fleet in fits and starts. Instead of standardizing ship designs and deploying large numbers of similar ships to its emerging blue water fleet, the People’s Liberation Army Navy keeps introducing new types of guided missile destroyers largely in pairs. The answer to the question of why China produced only one or two of four recent new guided missile destroyer designs could be that China is trying to gain the capability of producing a 956-type ship so that no more expensive Russian imports would be needed.
Wireless air interface protocol stack technology created by an Australian firm is receiving development funding from In-Q-Tel, an independent strategic investment group launched by the Central Intelligence Agency. This funding aims to bring new technologies to the U.S. intelligence community.
Poland is making military satellite communications a priority for its force modernization. As the former Warsaw Pact member embraces NATO-style network centricity, it is turning its eyes skyward to enable newly mobile forces to interact with headquarters and each other in distant theaters of operation.
A solar-powered, high-altitude robotic aircraft may soon provide warfighters, scientists and first responders with imagery, sensor data and extended communications links. The lightweight, long-endurance airplane is designed to remain on station, many thousands of feet over a region, for weeks or months at a time.
A proposed constellation of reconnaissance satellites soon may allow European governments to acquire and share satellite imagery rapidly. The multinational effort seeks to launch a new generation of imaging spacecraft to replace aging platforms. The program will permit participating nations to access individual satellites and sensors to meet their intelligence requirements.
International forces operating in Afghanistan are using a new dedicated communications backbone that is being deployed across the nation. The network consists of point-to-point radio links, satellite communications and landlines providing connectivity across the theater and reach-back to national headquarters.
The U.K. government is challenging British science and technology innovators to apply all their brainpower to helping protect the nation's forces from danger in an urban battlespace. The objective of the Ministry of Defence Grand Challenge competition is to yield a highly autonomous system that will detect, identify, monitor and report fully and partially obscured threats in urban areas in real time. This call to action is part of the ministry's strategy to involve industry and academia in U.K. defense challenges.
A new trans-Atlantic partnership comprising interdisciplinary research teams is developing wireless and sensor technologies to support future multinational network-centric operations.
A multinational exercise is bringing African nations together by focusing on how they can cooperate across a range of operations that include conducting peacekeeping missions, coordinating disaster relief and responding to humanitarian emergencies. The event will improve communications and collaboration in a region where military cooperation is uncommon, and it will develop new techniques and standards to permit nations to interoperate.
The composition of the U.S. Army's strategic and tactical signal brigades is evolving to meet the changing needs of the warfighter, and communications is at the crux of the transformation. Simultaneously required for transformation is the centralization of knowledge, security, capabilities and maintenance.
Both warfighters and their first responder counterparts depend on handheld radios to maintain small unit connectivity. These radios are lighter and less awkward than manpack systems, allowing more flexibility for users who must coordinate activities in adverse and chaotic situations. The disadvantage is that the range of handheld radios limits their effectiveness in areas with little or no infrastructure.
NATO Rapid Response Force commanders soon will benefit from equipment that provides enhanced situational awareness and battle management capabilities. The improvements are part of a package of networked decision-making tools scheduled to enter service in 2008 to support the force's deployable headquarters.
A new NATO member nation is deploying an advanced air defense command and control system that provides its forces with enhanced situational awareness and that interoperates with allied forces' systems. The system connects short- and medium-range anti-aircraft weapons batteries into a battalion-level network. It is designed to provide commanders with a real-time picture of friendly and enemy air operations over the battlefield.
Creating an army is difficult in peacetime and even more so when a nation is at war. The Iraqi government has done that, standing up a national army that will pave the way for the eventual withdrawal of coalition forces from the country. But modern armies are complex and require many parts to operate efficiently, and signal units constitute a key feature that is missing from the new Iraqi army.
The battlefield is not the only place where coalition cooperation happens today. The U.S. Army has found that sometimes the answers to United States' technical questions reside overseas, and one of its organizations is taking advantage of expertise available across the Atlantic to address relentless issues such as maximizing data throughput and minimizing information overload.
A recently completed international military experiment has developed strategies and doctrines for stability and peacekeeping operations that now are being applied in Afghanistan and Iraq. The event focused on using all available capabilities to achieve mission goals, ranging from direct combat to reconstruction and humanitarian aid.
Sweden's military is embracing multinational cooperation and procurement in its software-defined radio activities that may lead to the melding of two powerful radio systems. The Scandinavian country is striving to attain the fast, flexible and high-capacity family of Software Communications Architecture-compliant radios envisaged in its Common Tactical Radio System program. Demonstrator vehicular radios for armored battalion trials have been ordered, and additional procurements of platform-based and soldier radios are scheduled to begin later this year.
Under a new joint and integrated framework, the Netherlands military is addressing its traditional fragmented satellite communications capabilities by consolidating existing commercial C- and Ku-band satellite communications. The framework involves using flexible and more cost-effective arrangements and infrastructure. A prime strategy is to extend robust X-band military satellite communications usage from a limited shipborne-only role to the air force and army by purchasing capacity on the United Kingdom's new Skynet 5 private finance initiative. In addition, the country is inserting new capabilities through participation in the U.S. Advanced Extremely High Frequency Program as an international partner. This mix of media is designed to provide flexible, available and assured beyond line-of-sight connectivity to Dutch forces.
The People's Republic of China has developed a marine corps for maritime and amphibious operations. However, instead of being designed to invade Taiwan as expected by many Western experts, China's marine corps appears to have been created for South Sea expansion. A major upgrading of weapons, structure and support is making the Chinese marines an increasingly viable threat to nearby islands.
Italy is partnering with its local industry to develop a next-generation radio family similar to the U.S. Joint Tactical Radio System. The United States and several other nations will offer significant input in the radios' development.