The Swedish Air Force is upgrading its command and control systems to become interoperable with NATO equipment. The nation's primary aircraft and sensor management system recently underwent a major upgrade designed to enhance its capabilities and to prepare it for future operations with alliance and coalition forces.
In the near future, robot warplanes could autonomously take off, navigate to their targets and identify them—all before contacting human operators for clearance to attack. This operational independence is the promise of a new program underway in the United Kingdom. Building on experience gained from several other recent technology demonstrations, the project emphasizes systems development and integration. The aircraft's situational awareness will rely on its ability to process and translate flight and sensor data without human interaction.
Long-neutral Sweden faces major defense changes as it shifts its military emphasis from homeland defense to coalition operations. A force built around defending the territory of a single Scandinavian nation now must open up to interoperate fully with other nations in distant locales. This is bringing about changes in funding, logistics and force size.
Finland's military is facing its own force transformation as it alters its structure and its mission. The Baltic nation is looking at broad-based equipment modernization, substantial personnel cuts and a network-centric architecture to define its armed forces.
Slovakia is preparing to deploy a highly sophisticated mobile communications system for its army. Linking all echelons, from small tactical units to national headquarters, the network consists of state-of-the-art software-defined radios interfaced with legacy equipment. The system's Internet protocol-based technology is compatible with U.S. and NATO equipment, allowing Slovak forces to participate in multinational operations.
Odin, the chief god of ancient Scandinavia and the patron deity of war and wisdom, used guile and intelligence to defeat his enemies. Like its namesake, an advanced command, control and communications system allows warfighters to understand the operational situation quickly and to make informed decisions.
The French army soon will issue its troops an advanced suite of technologies that will improve their lethality, survivability and situational awareness. Consisting of an integrated system of communications, sensors and body armor, the equipment will allow small tactical units to integrate into larger network-centric formations.
Germany will deploy its first dedicated secure military satellite communications system before the end of the decade. The constellation is designed to assist the nation's forces as they support coalition and peacekeeping operations. The first satellite is scheduled to be in orbit by 2008, and the entire system is planned to be online by 2009.
The Republic of Bulgaria is facing a challenge familiar to many former Warsaw Pact NATO members as it strives to build a modern interoperable force under domestic fiscal constraints. But not all new Central and Eastern European NATO members are active in overseas security deployments both for NATO and for other coalition operations. Bulgaria is facing short-term as well as long-term challenges as it rigs for interoperability concurrent with a transition to a professional military.