The German army is fielding technologies to enhance its soldiers' lethality, situational awareness, survivability and operational capability. The new kit consists of an easily upgraded, modular system of body armor, integrated communications and night-vision equipment. Each squad member is fitted with a personal radio and a handheld digital assistant that can receive imagery and tactical data via a local wireless network. The new equipment already has been tested operationally in Kosovo and Afghanistan.
The British government has launched its ambitious program to create a state-of-the-art tactical communications infrastructure for its military. When complete, the United Kingdom's armed forces will have a secure radio system that operates a battlefield Internet jointly across multiple ground, air and sea platforms.
The British government is employing streamlined procurement procedures that change the way military projects are bid, selected and deployed. Moving away from traditional single-platform and service-based methods, the process utilizes a flexible approach that meets changing national defense requirements.
A globally adopted standard and technology developed for public safety organizations could support multinational military operations by providing international interoperability. The high-level commercial technology product offers various data applications that meet the communications needs of international peace support operations.
A cooperative venture among government, academic and commercial organizations is seeking to build an advanced research park in the heart of Poland. The Warsaw-based entity will serve as an incubator for small companies, provide established firms with access to research facilities and create a venue to turn the fruits of this labor into commercial products.
Europe's armed forces are using virtual reality to develop and integrate new technologies. Consisting of several networked facilities operating as a single entity, this research and design capability allows defense firms and their customers to test how systems operate before funds are committed for acquisition and production. This virtual testing center uses sophisticated modeling and simulation functions to create operational and training methodologies.
The types of sonars equipping Chinese warships are a barometer of Chinese naval technology and antisubmarine capability. The evolution of Chinese sonar from old Soviet equipment to series production, to indigenous designs, to French examples and finally to modern Russian vessels with sonar suites parallels Chinese naval progress. Just as these systems have grown from secondhand gear to indigenous designs supplemented by up-to-date foreign technologies, so has the Chinese navy transitioned to a force designed to serve the nation's maritime needs.
The most impressive new large guided missile destroyers (DDGs) of China's Peoples Liberation Army Navy, or PLAN, are the showcases of new operations and responsibilities beyond traditional coastal roles. The ships' new sensors, missiles and combat systems are mainly of Russian and Western origin. However, China now is faced with the challenge of operating and maintaining these advanced systems to create a credible threat to foreign navies in Far Eastern waters. This blue-water fleet primarily comprises ships that have been operational for years, but other more advanced ships are being built and may be deployed as soon as next year.
Interoperability with allied forces is a priority for Australia's military, and a program underway will deliver a multiphase, $600 million renewal of the Australian Defence Force's tactical communications systems. The program initially will rely on a bridging capability largely based on existing infrastructure that will be supplemented and ultimately replaced over at least the next decade in a series of phased improvements.
The Finnish Software Radio Program is meeting the software-defined radio requirements of a nonaligned nation and offering insight into alternative approaches to the U.S. Joint Tactical Radio System. The program concentrates as much on equipping forces to fight in high-intensity conflict as it does on equipping them for smaller peacekeeping roles. Along with supporting allied forces' equipment, it aims to support interoperability for disaster relief activities, nongovernmental organizations, and aid and emergency services work.
A European army's battlefield digitalization initiative has reached maturity with the wide-scale production of a networked command, control, communications and intelligence system for its mechanized forces. The equipment provides commanders with a near-real-time representation of the theater of operations and marks the location of all known allied and enemy forces on a digital interface. It also allows units such as infantry, artillery, armor and attack helicopters to share information to enhance situational awareness and reduce decision-making time.
The international community is pulling up alongside the U.S. armed forces in transformation efforts that will increase speed, agility and efficiency to defeat today's global threats. With a new command structure in place, NATO now moves on to the business of getting the doctrinal, educational and training processes into place so it is aligned with future U.S. concepts of operations and can better address the need for a more proactive approach.
China's procurement of additional modern Kilo-class submarines for the People's Liberation Army Navy, development of second-generation nuclear attack and ballistic missile submarines, and continued production of improved indigenous diesel boats present a threat to the U.S. Navy and other antisubmarine forces. However, these submarines may present an even larger challenge to Chinese crews and support assets.
A number of advanced unmanned aircraft systems are poised to enter service with military forces across Europe. This is the result of a continentwide investment in robotic aerial vehicles representing advances in current vehicles and new platforms. The aircraft all share a modular design approach for rapid mission customization and versatility.
Planners for the Israel Defense Forces have directed their infantry systems development program to focus on the growing challenges of urban warfare. The country's future combat soldier program is delivering both technological and conceptual solutions to provide advanced communications, navigation and lethality in an integrated package to the infantry.
The Swedish military is preparing the way for fielding its own soldier modernization program by 2010 with field trials beginning this year. In support of the effort, one company is developing its own soldier ensemble to meet Swedish requirements and to compete in the international market at both the system-of-systems and subsystems levels.
Sweden pursued its own path in defense procurement and development throughout the Cold War, keeping pace with the latest defense technology in military and industrial terms while remaining strictly nonaligned. Industrial consolidation in Sweden with the acquisition of Celsius by Saab, Linkoping, Sweden, was the catalyst for development of the Saab Warrior soldier ensemble.