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Innovations in High Performance Tactical Equipment for Modern Military Operations Transforming Precision Crunching the Numbers: Financing the Modern Military Developing Tactical Equipment for the Modern Military The Growing Importance of Lasers for the Modern Military What the Future Holds

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Innovations in High Performance Tactical Equipment for Modern Military Operations Transforming Precision Crunching the Numbers: Financing the Modern Military


Developing Tactical Equipment for the Modern Military The Growing Importance of Lasers for the Modern Military What the Future Holds



Tom Cropper, Editor

Transforming Precision


Adrienne Pelletier, Wilcox Industries

Decades of Innovation Why Wilcox? Equipped for Excellence

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Published by Global Business Media

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Crunching the Numbers: 7 Financing the Modern Military

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Have the Cuts Gone Too Far?

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The Problem Finding the Money Doing More With Less

Developing Tactical Equipment 9 for the Modern Military Jo Roth, Staff Writer

The Changing History of Equipment Reacting to the Challenges of Modern Warfare Practical Development Lightening a Load

The Growing Importance of Lasers for the Modern Military


James Butler, Staff Writer

Range Finding Blinding the Enemy Anti-Drones

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Body Protection of the Future


What the Future Holds


Tom Cropper, Editor

Shedding Weight Placing Technology in the Hands of Troops Better Healthcare

References 15



Foreword M

ILITARY BUDGETS have been feeling the

The shortage of cash threatens a crisis in innovation

cold winds of austerity in recent years, but as

and raises real questions about whether R&D teams

budgets come down the number of threats around

can continue the level of research required to deliver

the world seems to be on the up. The question

the next generation of tactical equipment. This Report

is, can Western militaries continue to develop new

will attempt to answer some of those questions.

technologies that enhance strategic capabilities

We start with an article from Adrienne Pelletier of

or will they have to accept a much reduced role

Wilcox Industries who highlights development of the

in the world.

Rapid Acquisition Aiming Module (RAAM) and how

As missions drew to a close in Afghanistan it had been hoped that, after 14 years of near continuous

it has helped to revolutionize the levels of precision achievable by modern soldiers.

foreign intervention, the strain on the military might

Elsewhere we’ll look at the financial background

ease. However, this does not seem to be the case.

against which research investment decisions are being

New threats are rising across the globe whether in

made as well as the cutting edge technologies which

the shape of ISIS in Syria, Boko Haram in Nigeria or

are shaping development now and into the future.

the crisis in the Ukraine. This comes at a time when budgets are shrinking rapidly. The UK is on course to dip below NATO’s set goal of spending 2% of GDP on defense, while the USA is cutting its forces down to their smallest size since the Second World War.

Tom Cropper Editor

Tom Cropper has produced articles and reports on various aspects of global business over the past 15 years. He has also worked as a copywriter for some of the largest corporations in the world, including ING, KPMG and the World Wildlife Fund.



Transforming Precision Adrienne Pelletier, Wilcox Industries

Lase it. Range it. Engage it. Wilcox introduces the RAPTAR™ – the next generation in laser and rangefinder technology. One system – the rangefinder is undetectable to standard night vision and ensuring pinpoint accuracy.


ILCOX INDUSTRIES is a leading innovator in the tactical equipment sector, creating unique products with unmatched performance, durability and value. With over 30 years of manufacturing experience, we have created products that directly impact the safety of service members.

Decades of Innovation Wilcox pioneered the introduction of laser aiming devices for small arms with our first US patent for a laser device attached to a handgun in 1994 known as the Night Stalker. The Night Stalker offered an IR and visible marker, pulse feature to pulse the laser beam as well as a straight red laser. As a safety feature, the Night Stalker would turn off when the rounds were completely expended from the weapon. Using 2 AAAA batteries, the Night Stalker would offer the operator 10 hours of continuous use. Since 1994, we have amassed numerous patents – many have defined today’s small arms fire control and laser aiming technologies. One step in our product evolution was the Power Grip. At the time of release, the Power Grip brought high performance to a new level incorporating multi-functional aiming lasers and a SureFire® tactical flashlight together in a compact package. The laser module offered three laser selections, a programmable LCD interface and could be operated on the Power Grip Multi-Aiming Device (MAD) or mounted directly onto a MIL-STD-1913 weapon rail. The flashlight module delivered a xenon bulb for visible flood illumination. It also offered a removable IR filter cover to provide instant IR flood illumination. The innovation of the Power Grip led to advances that inspired the creation of the Day/Night Sight. Operators were having difficulty with accuracy during night time combat. The Day/Night mount increased the hit probability and accuracy for both day and night shooting with 40mm M203 and

M203 Q.D. grenade launchers. It mounted directly to the barrel to provide increased accuracy. The mount easily attached and detached from the grenade launcher to enhance mission flexibility. When the device was not in use, it stored in a collapsed position to protect the unit and retain sight settings. The Day/Night sight was the beginning of Wilcox’s presence in the arena of fire control systems. The Day/Night Sight evolved into the LAW Trajectory Mount (LTM). The unique design of the LTM secured to the LAW by means of a tube clamp and ratchetable strap for ease of mounting and removal when not in use. The LTM incorporated a digital display indicating the distance to target and ergonomically adjustable control of the firing mechanism. This revolutionary unit overcame obstacles that operators were facing at the time as well as providing cost savings. The device offered a shrouded release button preventing accidental release of the LTM from the LAW. Between the rigorous quality testing and user feedback during the products’ evolution, significant advances were made to our technology and were the foundation we used to develop the Rapid Acquisition Aiming Module (RAAM™.) This was the first time a laser and a rangefinder were packaged together into one device. The RAAM is a fire control system specifically designed for under-slung grenade launchers. It uses an internal ballistic computer and data from sensors as well as a laser rangefinder to calculate the trajectory of a round. The motorized gimbal features a visible red laser for bore-sighting and low light engagement as well as an IR laser for nighttime. All the displays dim and can be viewed using night vision goggles. The system mounts, without the use of special tools, onto MIL-STD-1913 rails with the Wilcox Cam-Lock Mounting System™. There were 3,800 RAAMs purchased through the FIST program and are NATO codified. WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 3


The Day/Night sight was the beginning of Wilcox’s presence in the arena of

The advancements developed to bring RAAM to fruition became the template for developing RAPTAR and the series of RAPTAR systems which, like their predecessors, are pioneers in laser rangefinding technology.

Why Wilcox?

fire control systems


We specialize in a holistic systems approach to what we offer and strive to set new industry standards in quality and workmanship, providing the toughest, most effective tactical gear you need to do your job without compromise. From precision manufacturing to precision range finders, you can trust that Wilcox hits the mark. Gone are the days where you throw away a unit when the red laser burns out. The RAPTAR systems are all built in the same housing for integrated logistic service (ILS.) What does that mean for you? Repairable. If a component of your system stops working the unit is serviceable and this extends the life of your investment. The family of RAPTAR systems all offer a laser safety key. This safety feature means a trained person, like an armor, can use a key and turn the intensity of the laser up and down based on the operator’s training to prevent injury. In a mission scenario, the last thing an operator wants to worry about is if they are pressing the right buttons to get their equipment to perform as they intend. The intuitive controls on the pressure pad allow for dexterous adjustments of laser intensity, going from 1 to 7 on the fly, putting the control back in the user’s hands and not dictated by equipment limitations.

Equipped for Excellence Wilcox’s engineering and manufacturing teams work hard to extend the capabilities of our laser ranging and aiming products. We do extensive testing for beam quality, beam divergence, laser co-alignment bore-sight retention and distance for our rangefinders. 4 | WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM

Beam Quality Our near IR adjustable divergence illuminator for the RAPTAR projects a uniform spot down range from 1mrad to 105 mrad. This illuminator, co-aligned along with the aiming laser, mitigates the ability of the laser to be seen by the unaided eye. When using night vision goggles our laser/ illuminators greatly enhance an operator’s acuity at night. This vision enhancement is especially valuable at extended ranges. Our illuminator, in concert with NVGs, increases situational awareness, dramatically reduces target acquisition times and allows target discrimination and reduction of a halo effect, maximizing the engagement distance of the effective range of the weapon. Beam Divergence We have designed and built unique optical trains, with selected lenses and components, which allow precise beam control of our aiming lasers. We specify a 0.5 mrad maximum divergence angle. With this precision, our aiming lasers for man sized targets are tactically effective to 1,000 meters. Laser Co-Alignment We designed and built custom optical alignment devices and test stations, with enhanced CMOS cameras and state-of-the-art analytic software, to streamline the checkout processes. Our equipment quickly verifies laser power, beam quality, divergence and alignment. Our co-alignment specifications for our laser, illuminator, and rangefinder ensure that our products will perform to the most stringent customer requirements. Bore-Sight Retention Accuracy and repeatability are the most important performance aspects of our laser aiming devices when mounted to a weapon. We guarantee accuracy of our laser devices to 1mrad or less, from bore-sight zero. Performance demands of our weapon mounted systems continue to evolve. Rangefinder Our compact laser optical bench operates at 1550nm wavelength and is not detectable with currently fielded I2 night vision equipment. Our rangefinder has a maximum range of 5km. It has repeatable 1-meter measurement accuracy, against standard NATO targets at 2,000 meters. RAPTAR rangefinder technology permits stealthy and rapid target engagements, day or night, at extended ranges.

RAPTAR™ Wilcox’s Rapid Targeting and Ranging module (RAPTAR™) boasts a lightweight, integrated


Built to withstand the demands of your mission, this compact, all-weather package is complete with a 300 lumen SureFire® Flashlight. The RAPTAR-Lite is available in three versions with different laser options for military, law enforcement and civilian use in mind. The eye safe version uses a low power Class 1 IR laser with a <0.7mw rating. With a flashlight adjustment range of 30 lumen up to full power of 300 lumen, this system offers versatility of use in close quarter combat situations.


technology system. The RAPTAR is designed to be mounted to a wide variety of weapon platforms with MIL-STD-1913 RIS/RAS and STANAG-4694 rails. The RAPTAR offers an Infra-Red (IR) laser, visible laser, IR flood and laser range finder (LRF) in one compact, rugged, all weather package. Equipped with precision windage and elevation adjustors, the entire laser suite is controlled as one is less than 0.3 MRAD. Unlike any current system in the field, the RAPTAR can be repaired, upgraded and expanded with emerging technology maintaining its edge over for the life of the product. The RAPTAR is available in a high power version designed for military application as well as an eye safe version using a low power Class 1 IR laser that features a <0.7mw rating which is eye safe and not restricted for civilian use by the FDA. It is progressive technology for combat operations.



The RAPTAR-Lite™ is an exceptional value offering both visible and IR aiming lasers, a variable focus IR Illuminator all precisely controlled with adjustors for each plane – azimuth and elevation. Like the RAPTAR, all lasers are coaligned within 0.3 MRAD and the entire laser suite moves as one.


The RAPTAR- Saber (RAPTAR-S™) takes our RAPTAR family of laser rangefinders to the next level. Offering all the proven technology of the original RAPTAR system, the RAPTAR-S features an applied ballistic solver for precise accuracy at extremely long ranges. Our partner, nVisti, has been instrumental in bringing this state-of-the-art ballistic solver to fruition. nVisti Tactical Innovation is comprised of industry leaders in the field of small arms fire control systems with expertise in laser range finders, ballistics, wind measurement and digital imaging. Through nVisti’s partnership with Applied Ballistics and Accuracy 1st, the company has been responsible for the development and integration of the ballistics, firmware and software for our RAPTAR-S weapon-mounted laser range finder. Applied Ballistics developed its core solver to address the need for a universal ballistics core to act as a common baseline ballistic solution for systems integrators, analytics, and tactical applications. The solver is designed for optimal performance and accuracy. The computations achieve nearly the accuracy of a full 6 degree of freedom model using a three degree of freedom (3DOF) modified point mass numerical solver considering all environmental WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 5


The system is expandable with emerging technology producing cost savings throughout the life of the system



conditions including average cross-wind or a cross-wind profile. The solver calculates accurate fire control solutions for long range rifle shooting. It accounts for all major and minor trajectory variables including the use of measured G7 BCs and even the option to use custom drag curves for over 400 bullets. The output is shown in MILs, MOAs, or even an ACOG BDC reticle. Included within the system is a ballistic calibration feature that allows the user to ‘train’ the software to match a specific rifle based on observed impacts at long range. Combined with the over 400 custom measured bullet drag curves (available for syncing via Android or PC), shooters have everything they need to make a much more precise trajectory calculation than any other software available. Included within the RAPTAR-S, the Applied Ballistics solver measures temperature, pressure, humidity, inclination, cant, heading to the target, and GPS coordinates. By using these sensor readings and the custom drag curves, the solver is capable of producing ballistic solutions that are accurate to within 0.1 mils through the subsonic range of the bullet’s flight. Our intuitive fire control system accounts for all contributing environmental variables

including Coriolis, spin drift and aerodynamic jump. The system is expandable with emerging technology producing cost savings throughout the life of the system. The data this system is capable of is easily accessible with an intuitive user interface taking all the guesswork out of long range applications. Wilcox has a proud heritage of innovative thinking that provides state-of-the-art technological solutions to meet the needs of servicemen and women. We are proud to offer small arms systems that enhance the use of a weapon. Every feature of our products is designed with the end user in mind. Our small arms systems are compact. We provide intuitive laser systems that give you superior aiming control and are built to withstand the most grueling weather and combat conditions. Your mission is our mission.


Contact Wilcox Industries Corp 25 Piscataqua Dr, Newington, NH 03801, USA T: (603) 431-1331 F: (603) 431-1221


Crunching the Numbers: Financing the Modern Military Tom Cropper, Editor

As MOD budgets are coming down, the question of how the modern military can be financed is the most important issue of the day.


N US politics there is a saying: The Republicans want a large military but want to send it nowhere; the Democrats want a small military but want to send it everywhere. It’s a saying which sums up the problem facing many of the major Western Powers at the moment. Spending on their military budgets is being slashed. At the same time, the number of threats around the world and the locations in which they may be required to operate are escalating. The question of how they can adequately equip their military given these new realities is the most important that military commanders face.

The Problem The demands on Western militaries have arguably never been as diverse or severe. For example, here’s a short list of NATO’s current activity. •A  fghanistan: NATO is running non-combat missions while providing ongoing training and support for Afghan forces. •K  osovo: 4,500 allied troops are still stationed in Kosovo as part of the peace keeping mission. •M  editerranean: Counter terrorism monitoring and surveillance operations continue in the Mediterranean Sea. •A  frica: NATO provides support to the African Union in peacekeeping missions including in war torn areas such as Somalia. •C  ounter Piracy off the Horn of Africa: Operation Ocean Shield is working to counter the threat of piracy in the area and offer support to those countries which want to develop their own anti-piracy strategies. •U  kraine: In response to the crisis in the Ukraine and the growing aggression from Russia, NATO has been providing air policing

for those countries which do not have fighter jets of their own to patrol their own airspace. The UK military, meanwhile, is operating around the world in Afghanistan, Africa and in Iraq with airstrikes against ISIS, while the USA is also running bombing missions inside Syria. Add to this the growing threat of Boko Haram in Nigeria, and the number of regions in which troops may be deployed in the future is growing all the time.

Finding the Money Against this backdrop, though, defense budgets in the UK and the US are falling quickly. The 2010 defense review for saw 8% cuts to military budget1. Spending on the military is the fourth largest spend for the Treasury and is seen as a ripe area for reduction. Between 2011 and 2013 spending on the military fell further than any other area of the UK budget. Assuming the Conservatives were to win the forthcoming election, further belt tightening has been promised with the aim of bringing the number of regular WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 7


The demands on Western militaries have arguably never been as diverse or severe

forces down from over 100,000 to 80,000. The UK has made a commitment to adhere to NATO’s target of spending 2% of GDP on defense, but this only lasts until the end of this parliament. Research by the European Leadership Network states that the UK’s current plans will bring spending below that 2% mark from 2.07% to 1.88%2. In the US, spending is also coming down. As the mission in Afghanistan draws towards a conclusion, the Pentagon is planning to reduce the army to the smallest since before World War II. Plans are afoot to reduce the size of the military force from around 520,000 to 450,0003.

Have the Cuts Gone Too Far? These cuts present certain risks. With an international situation which is uncertain, at best, it will be difficult for these much reduced defense forces to react to new threats. Speaking when the US cuts were announced, in February 2014, Chuck Hagel warned that “budget reductions inevitably reduce the military’s margin of error in dealing with these risks, as other powers are continuing to modernize their weapons portfolios.”4 Meanwhile, the Head of the US Army has said the scale of cuts to the UK military budget is a cause for concern. Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno suggested budget cuts could see British units working within US ranks rather than alongside5.

Doing More With Less Coping with these cuts will require significant downsizing not only in the number of personnel, but also in investment in military equipment. Forbes reported that the army would see almost no investment in next generation combat systems until after 20206. A next generation air 8 | WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM

defense system has already been shelved while investment in new communications systems have also been reduced. However, cutting back on such technology can prove counter-productive. Speaking to Reuters, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus pointed out that investment in technology had the potential to save money. He highlighted a laser weapon on board the warship Ponce in the Gulf. This is used to destroy small drones or attack boats launched against the vessel. “You shoot a missile, it costs you a million bucks or so,” he said. “You shoot a laser, and it costs you about 50 cents7.” This is a key question when considering investment in any next generation strategic equipment. Any new system requires significant upfront investment for research and innovation. The best people need to be attracted and significant sums sunk into any new capabilities before they can be used. The question is: in this new era of budget cuts, will this investment be considered worthwhile and can militaries bring new technologies to a scale where they can be utilized effectively in real life situations? The environment in which planners are operating is, therefore, tough. However, despite budget cuts, investment in new technologies is important. Other militaries around the world are investing in their forces, which means potential opponents will be better equipped than ever before. Moreover, the evolving threat of terrorism will continue to create new challenges which may be beyond the scope of current military capabilities. Innovation may appear costly, but it is crucial if Western powers are to be capable of meeting the challenges of the next few decades.


Developing Tactical Equipment for the Modern Military Jo Roth, Staff Writer

New innovations in tactical equipment for modern military personnel must take into account the requirements of warfare in the here and now.


HE MILITARY has long been a hive of innovation, but critics argue that the last ten years has seen money wasted on innovations for future hypothetical wars rather than an incremental development for the needs of soldiering today. Such development is less science fiction and is certainly nowhere near as exciting, but it does address the specific challenges modern day military personnel are facing.

The Changing History of Equipment Throughout history military tactics and equipment have been evolving depending on the challenges put in front of them. In the Middle Ages, castles imposed power; these were, in turn, challenged and eventually rendered obsolete by the arrival of gunpowder and a new, more mobile form of war. At each turn, development has been marked by a punch and counter-punch. For example; armor becomes tougher, which means more powerful weapons must be developed which can penetrate that armor. In the modern military age we’ve come into the world of super hi tech warfare – of laser guided missiles, digital communications and power systems. Indeed the military became a powerhouse of innovation giving rise to the internet and mobile phone technology which migrated into civilian life. Even today, the trend continues as drones are increasingly being used in commercial as well as military situations. However, the evolving threats faced in the last ten years raise the question of whether technologies are developing in a way which satisfies the digital dreams of the scientists behind the developments, or if they really hold true to the real requirements of troops in the field. Examples of this can be seen in an article for the Wall Street Journal which gleefully reports

that Hollywood costume designers are being used to create outfits for the soldier of the future. The article reports that Legacy Effects which had outfitted movie-warriors such as the Terminator, RoboCop and Iron Man had been employed to design what amounted to a real life Iron Man suit. “The special-effects company is now at work on what seems a mission impossible: Building an Iron Man-style suit to protect and propel elite U.S. troops by encasing them in body armor equipped with an agile exoskeleton to enable troops to carry hundreds of pounds of gear,” states the report.8 However, the report highlights a problem with such development. Over the years, the DOD has spent millions on advanced high tech projects which haven’t borne fruit. The article reports that Special Operations Command has so far spent approximately $10million, which is leading to concern that money is being wasted. Reacting to the Challenges of Modern Warfare The argument in favor of such far-fetched thinking is that, although you may not get your Iron Man Suit, you will get a lot of exciting technological development along the way. However, there is fear that a lack of targeted development has left soldiers exposed to evolving threats in the real world. In 2011, National Defense Magazine argued that the wars of the past decade had opened an innovation gap and a failure to anticipate or react to changing tactics such as roadside bombs or snipers. “The Defense Department’s research-anddevelopment apparatus was slow to respond with new and improved weapons based on changing threats,” states the article. “Critics have called for the Pentagon to stop wasting money on science projects that target undefined hypothetical future wars, focus on systems that they know deployed forces need, and to move them to the WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 9


The search is on, therefore, for technological innovations that can achieve desirable and practical solutions within a workable timeframe

field in weeks or months, not years or decades. Innovation is not helpful if it’s not assisting troops at war.”9 Instead they focus on 10 technologies they felt were required for the future of warfare including: faster helicopters; non-lethal weapons; ultralight dune buggies for operation in desert warfare; renewable energies and more flexible communication systems.

Practical Development The search is on, therefore, for technological innovations that can achieve desirable and practical solutions within a workable timeframe. These solutions must: Reduce the risk to personnel in the field: Casualty rates are impressively low, but incremental improvements in safety of equipment, operational speed and efficiency can all save lives. Work within budgetary constraints: Modern militaries are operation under intense budgetary pressure. At a time when the challenges and strains are growing, there is demand for technologies which can reduce operational expenditure without negatively influencing operational efficiency. Create a more mobile army: Keeping an army on the move is an immense logistical exercise. This is why a huge amount of attention is being focused on developments which can help mobile units to be more autonomous and self-sufficient. Mobile water purification and renewable energy supplies provide a way of enabling units to move more swiftly and with a lower logistical cost.


Lightening a Load A key practical consideration which can provide immediate benefits is the task of lightening the load soldiers are asked to carry. Currently infantrymen can be expected to carry approximately 100 pounds and more of gear. Reducing this by just 10 or 20 pounds can make a significant difference. A key obstacle to this is the body armor soldiers are required to wear. This is of course crucial to the survivability of any soldier, but weighing in at 35 pounds this is a significant addition to the burden they carry. A key option in lightening the load comes through nano technology. These tiny nano particles exhibit an immense magnetic bond which enables them to produce extremely resilient and hard wearing materials. Other research focuses on producing a wearable exoskeleton which can enable soldiers to march into battle without draining their energy. The Human Universal Load Carrier will ease the strain on joints while increasing the load individual soldiers can carry without risking fatigue or injury10. In a financially constrained world, practical and applicable technologies such as these will always possess a clear advantage over other more far reaching blue sky technologies. Budgetary constraints needn’t bring a total halt to innovation – they simply mean that funds need to be targeted in a more sensible and effective way. In the following articles in this Report, we’ll look at some of the new developmental projects designed to deliver a crucial tactical edge to troops.


The Growing Importance of Lasers for the Modern Military James Butler, Staff Writer

In a world of tight budgets, lasers are becoming an increasingly important asset for modern militaries.


HEN LASERS are evoked in any military discussion they prompt boyhood fantasies of futuristic super soldiers running around and vaporizing enemies with a blast from their ray gun. While we’re a long way from that, the laser is playing an increasingly important role in modern warfare in everything from target acquisition, to communications and defense. Indeed, given the cost effective nature of laser technologies – once in operation – they represent a highly compelling technology for the cash-strapped military of the future. This article will look at some of the ways lasers are being used around the world and the technological developments behind them.

Range Finding Lasers have been used in target acquisition since the 90s. They first came to national prominence during the first Gulf War when targets were identified using lasers, which enabled highly accurate bombing missions of single buildings. However, in the middle of the decade they came to be used for smaller hand held weapons. One of the pioneering names in this field has been Wilcox Industries which produces its market leading RAPTAR (Rapid Targeting and Range Module). This produces a much lighter weight module which is designed to be applicable for a wide range of different weapons. It is part of a new generation of range finding lasers which aim to address some of the shortcomings of previous technologies. Although lasers have been used for many years, they have drawbacks in that they can give away a sniper’s location and they do not adjust for wind speed or gravity. Part of the RAPTAR offering, therefore, is to include these adjustments, as well as being much

more difficult to detect. The result is a device which offers an unparalleled level of stealth and accuracy compared to other products. In addition the RAPTAR is designed to offer a cost effective solution. It is trimmed down to be lightweight and flexible, is weather resistant and can also be quickly and efficiently repaired. The result is a device which adheres to the current demands of the US military – something which is far more cost effective, but is also able to offer improvements in accuracy and performance.

Blinding the Enemy A defensive application for lasers is in disorientating the enemy. This is seen as an ideal non-lethal defensive strategy against incoming air attack. Shining a single laser into the eye of a pilot is enough to create disorientation, while a strobing laser can be enough to produce temporary blindness. Laser dazzling is thought to have been first used by British forces during the Falklands War when it was used to disrupt low altitude Argentine attacks. Today, the US military uses a weapon with the appealing name of the Dazzler. This can be mounted onto weapons and can produce a laser strobing effect that can induce temporary blindness in an enemy.

Anti-Drones Decades after Ronald Reagan announced the Star Wars program which ambitiously aimed to shoot enemy missiles out of the air with lasers, the US army is at it again. This time, they have announced development into surface to air laser technology which can shoot enemy drones out of the sky. In 2014 the Office of Naval Research announced their Ground Based Defense Directed Energy on the Move program (GBAD), which would give an affordable alternative to conventional firepower WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 11


While these innovations conjure images of Star Wars style battles, they have a more mundane purpose in mind: saving money

when providing defense for ground based units from drone attack. Speaking at the launch, Brigadier General Kevin Killiea, Vice Chief of Naval Research and Commanding General of the Marine Corps Warfighting said: “We’re confident we can bring together all of these pieces in a package that’s small enough to be carried on light tactical vehicles and powerful enough to counter these threats11.” The system is currently undergoing tests and is expected to be ready for in-field testing in 2016. It works in a similar way to the laser defense system currently in operation on the Ponce warship. This uses laser energy to destroy ordinance on incoming drones and small attack boats. Tests with this system have been so successful that it has been cleared for use when defending the ship from real life attack12. While these innovations conjure images of Star Wars style battles, they have a more mundane purpose in mind: saving money. Firing a laser at an incoming object represents a substantial cost saving compared with firing a missile or ammunition. While the upfront cost of developing and installing laser technology is considerable, it promises to dispose of threats at a cost of a few cents a time rather than hundreds of dollars.

Communications Lasers are also revolutionizing the field of communications by delivering the kind of


high speed data we expect with fiber optic cables. Data can be transmitted via a laser beam in exactly the same way as fiber optic cable does. The only difference is the absence of the cable. This development is seen as crucial in lightening the load on radio communications, which are increasingly being stretched to breaking point. In addition, the use of mobile drones in attacks increases the need for a more effective feed of life images back to controllers on the ground. Lasers offer the potential to deliver high quality images from the drone back to base. Lasers are also much more secure than radio communications. In order to disrupt a laser, an enemy would have to be able to detect the narrow beam and find a way to place an object in front of it. This technology is at an advanced stage with many contractors telling National Defense Magazine in 2014 that it was ready to be used in the field13.

Conclusion The potential of lasers is vast. Technologies are at various stages in the development cycle with some having been in the field for many years, while others are still in the testing stage. However, they hold an enticing promise for military commanders – a technology which can successfully drive down costs, while providing enhanced performance across the board.


What the Future Holds Tom Cropper, Editor

From advanced super-suits to four legged robots – how the next generation of strategic equipment could look.


ONEY MAY be tight at the Ministry of Defence, but that doesn’t mean innovation stops completely. Warfare is always changing, as are the threats we face, which means investment in new technology is crucial in order to maintain an effective fighting force. However research does need to be targeted. It is all too easy to investigate cutting edge futuristic technologies, but these need to be solutions which offer functional and practical solutions to the real threats posed by the military. Equally, they need to be ready within a foreseeable timeframe. With that in mind, the final article in this Report focuses on what developments are currently in the pipeline for equipping the army of the future.

Shedding Weight Currently, an infantryman has to carry approximately 100 pounds of gear. This is made up of kit such as body armor, ammunition, MREs, combat life saver gear, GPS, spare batteries and much more. Most of the research being conducted currently focuses on reducing this burden. The benefit is that troops are better protected now than ever before and in an environment in which troop protection is prioritized above everything else, this represents very much the way forward for defense thinking. All this protection comes at a price – namely speed and effectiveness. In addition, it is possible that all this gear presents a health risk. A 2010 report found that the loads British soldiers were being asked to carry were leading to an unprecedented number of ankle and spinal injuries. In response the MOD announced plans to shed almost 30 pounds of weight from the load soldiers carry14. In the US, their research division, DARPA, is highlighting a number of extreme sounding solutions, including a four legged robot, which can carry much of the load. The LS3 is being developed with the aim of demonstrating that a semi-autonomous four legged robot can carry up to 400 pounds of gear, significantly lightening

the load and increasing the mobility of troops on the ground.15 The robot has local perception technology which allows it to make autonomous decisions and avoid obstacles when attempting to reach pre-designated GPS co-ordinates. It is designed to follow a leader’s path as closely as possible, but will have leeway to avoid problems and obstacles, which means troops should not have to worry about the robot’s movement. The technology is still in the developmental stage, but has already undergone significant outdoor testing. DARPA say that they are also looking into ways of using the robot as a mobile power supply, and also allowing squad members to speak commands to the machine.

Placing Technology in the Hands of Troops At the same time, other research centers on bringing the technology found on ships, aircraft and ground vehicles and putting it in the hands of foot soldiers. The US DARPA Squad X Core program is focused on putting these state-ofthe-art technologies into the hands of troops, without the weight gain associated with heavyduty equipment. Therefore, they are working on streamlining this technology into physically smaller packages and developing controls which can be used by soldiers in an intuitive manner. In this way they create technologies which can help infantry maintain their tactical superiority over the enemy without slowing them down. The technology focuses first on providing greater precision at long range and allowing soldiers to engage and destroy enemy targets from several miles away. There is also disruptive technology which aims to disable unmanned enemy drones. Finally, high tech locating equipment will allow soldiers to locate precisely their team mates. This can be done even in areas in which GPS is unreliable

Body Protection of the Future Another area of development has managed to WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 13


The technology focuses first on providing greater precision at long range and allowing soldiers to engage and destroy enemy targets from several miles away

get the press excited by stories of a ‘real life Iron Man Suit’. The reality is somewhat different, but if the US Army’s Telos program delivers on its promise it will represent a significant step forward in tactical equipment for front line soldiers. Telos is an advanced suit which has 360 degree cameras delivering enhanced visual displays for troops, sensors which can detect and treat wounds, and bullet-proof armor. The suit is currently in development, but there are hopes that the first models can be available in 2018. However, this represents only the initial phase of development. The full scope of the project really does read like something out of science fiction. The army hopes it will include the ability to harness solar and kinetic energy, to measure the condition of the troops and an exoskeleton which will give the wearer superhuman powers, enabling them to run faster and jump further. These innovations, though, are decades down the line and critics argue that investment in hypothetical future technologies detracts from today’s realities.

Better Healthcare On a more practical scale, small and incremental improvements do more to improve the survivability of soldiers. This is why substantial investment is being sunk into pre hospital care and treatment in the field at the point of injury. The military has an excellent record of survivability once casualties make it to the hospital, but the problem is with in-field care where some reports have suggested that 25% of fatalities are preventable. There is considerable research and development being undertaken into technological additions which could


improve the situation, but a recent analysis of prehospital care by Robert Malbry, found that infrastructure, leadership and organization were equally responsible. He argues that among the major challenges is a lack of ‘ownership’ in that no single body is in control of in-field medical treatments. He points out that in staffing a forward battalion with emergency medicine results in a 30% reduction in fatality rates, while adopting civilian air ambulance standards to helicopter evacuation during the Afghanistan campaign produced a 66% reduction in the risk of dying16. Technology has a place of course, but sometimes it can be systemic and it is organization changes that can produce the biggest improvements. These have the advantage of not only being effective, but also requiring virtually zero upfront cost. In a world in which money is tight, this is an important lesson for the military to learn. Despite the fiscal restraints, however, it is clear that military innovation remains an exciting field. However, the true scope of this innovation depends on the demands placed on the military over the next couple of decades. History has shown that inter war development is sluggish with real innovation being borne out of combat necessity. As it stands there is considerable uncertainty about precisely how much load will be placed on the army in the future. While military chiefs are preparing for a scaled down military after the withdrawals from Afghanistan and Iraq, new threats from ISIS and Russia have the potential to open up new theatres of war. If they do, then new investment into our forces will be urgently required.



UK Defence Spending Set for tough decisions:

1 2

US Comments About British Army Raises Questions About Defence Spending: 3

Budget Cuts to Slash US Army to Smallest Since World War II: 4

Pentagon Cuts a Mixed Bag for Defence Firms:


UK Defence Spending concerns US Army Chief:


Why Budget Cuts Could cripple the Army for Many Years to Come: 7

Budget Cuts Seen endangering US Innovation:


US Military Turns to Hollywood to outfit the Soldier of the Future: 9

Ten Technologies the US will Need for the Next War: 10

The Evolution of Lockheed Martin’s Incredible Exosuit: 11

Bad News for Bad Guys:


US Navy’s Laser Cannon:


Game Changing Laser Communications Ready for Fielding, Vendors Say:,VendorsSay.aspx 14

British Soldiers Suffering Injuries from Too Heavy Weights: 15

Legged Support Squad System:


Challenges to Improving Combat Survival:


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Defence Industry Reports – Innovations in High Performance Tactical Equipment – Modern Military Op's  

Defence Industry – Special Report on Innovations in High Performance Tactical equipment for Modern Military Operations

Defence Industry Reports – Innovations in High Performance Tactical Equipment – Modern Military Op's  

Defence Industry – Special Report on Innovations in High Performance Tactical equipment for Modern Military Operations