Start Archive: News & Articles

Archive: News & Articles


Gap crossing: the challenges of water obstacles in Europe

The European continent is criss-crossed by a large number of waterways that make large-scale ground military manoeuvres difficult. This article examines the extent of the challenges that water obstacles present and why gap crossings are relevant in the case of the War in Ukraine. It discusses the risks inherent in performing a water-crossing operation and […]

The greatest test for Ukraine

The capture of Avdiivka on 17 February 2024 marked a tactical and symbolic victory for Russia. Yet far more significant than the capture of the town itself was that the offensive heralded the deeply troubling trend of the return of Russian air power. As this column warned back in ESD’s January edition (see ‘Breaking the […]

Beachheads and amphibious armour

Establishing a beachhead is the defining component of an amphibious assault. Fail, and the following forces may have to find an alternate landing site or fight their way onto shore. Succeed and it is possible to achieve surprise at scale, which has been identified as an important component of military success.[1] The impact a successful […]



Calibre conundrums – developments in small arms ammunition

Small arms represent one of the most fundamental elements of military equipment. As such, one might expect that these weapons and their accompanying ammunition have benefitted from years of significant technological advances, though such an expectation would only partially ring true. Significant technological progress has indeed taken place, but many widely used types of small […]

Smooth Sailing? The Strategic Relevance of (Un)contested Control of the Black Sea

As the war in Ukraine enters its third year, access to the Black Sea for both sides has remained deeply strategically relevant. As the battle for control continues, neither side can afford to surrender control of this vital area.  A stalemate and renewed sense of urgency As Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine seems to become […]

Delivering the Royal Navy’s future surface fleet

The British Royal Navy is in the middle of a significant programme of fleet renewal. Two major projects are currently underway that will ultimately see the commissioning of eight Type 26 anti-submarine warfare and five Type 31 general purpose frigates. Together, they will replace over two thirds of the navy’s major surface combatants. Responsible for […]



Keep it short

The ongoing war in Ukraine underscores just how hotly contested the airspace over the tactical edge will be in future conflicts. There are no firm definitions for very short-range air defence (VSHORAD) or short-range air defence (SHORAD), though a 2019 official UK publication entitled ‘Joint Air Defence’ provides some useful thresholds. The document states that […]

Examining the future of C-UAV and C-RAM

The battlefield threat posed by small and medium unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), as well as by precision artillery continues to evolve. Both are driving a demand for counter-UAV (C-UAV) and counter-rocket, artillery and mortar (C-RAM) systems, and there is a good degree of overlap between the two. Intense research and development efforts are necessary to […]

Turret options for modern AFVs

Turrets are central to armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) design and house many of the most important subsystems on any platform. These can include the main armament, sensors, fire control systems, and protection systems. The choice of turret can affect greatly what a system can or cannot do. The market for standalone turrets provides potential users […]



Active protection systems: an overview

Armed forces continue to pursue active protection systems (APSs) capable of effectively defeating anti-armour weaponry. As many different designs have completed their development, the current APS market offers users more options than ever before. The high numbers of damaged or destroyed armoured vehicles suffered by the warring parties in the Ukraine War underscores the urgent […]

Assessing armoured vehicle requirements for strategic power projection

Armoured vehicle design is based on the so called ‘iron triangle’ of firepower, protection and mobility. The most successful vehicles are those that achieve the best balance between these three criteria. Other factors come into play though, including the operational doctrine of the operator driving the specifications of the vehicle, the tasks that the vehicle […]

Horizon scanning – the future requirements of AFV design

Looking out over the next decade, this article aims to identify some of the key trends and requirements which we are likely to see emerge in armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) of the 2030s and beyond. While predicting the future can often be challenging, examining current trends in industry and on the battlefield can provide a […]



De-lousing: the Role of ISR in Enabling Maritime Operations

Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities are an essential, overlaying enabler for naval operations. As the strategic importance of operational tasks such as mine warfare and anti-submarine warfare returns, so does the requirement to expand and enhance ISR capability and its support for such tasks, particularly through enhancing multi-domain command, control, and communications. Intelligence, surveillance, […]

The Battle for Low Earth Orbit and the Stratosphere

Amid an uncertain security environment, competition in Low Earth Orbit and the stratosphere is heating up. SpaceX launched their 42nd Starlink delivery mission of the year on 25 September 2023, at 4:48 a.m. EDT, when a Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The rocket placed 21 V2 Mini Starlink […]

Dynamic Messenger 2023: Extending the Envelope of Unmanned Capabilities at Sea

In a round of related exercises off the coast of Portugal, NATO has been exploring the future potential of maritime unmanned assets. Hosted by the Portuguese Navy out of its Maritime Experimentation Operations Centre on the Tróia peninsula and its naval facilities in Sesimbra, NATO has recently conducted two overlapping exercises focused on integrating maritime […]



Detecting Missile Threats from Space

As the threat from manoeuvrable hypersonic missiles adds to the already vast array of ballistic and other missile threats, increasingly extensive and sophisticated space-based satellite constellations providing missile warning and tracking functionality are being deployed to bolster US missile defences for the protection of the US and its Allies. This article examines the threats demanding […]

Developments in Lithium-ion Batteries and AIP Systems for Submarines

The latest developments in Lithium-ion battery (LIB) systems in the underwater domain have resulted in significant advantages for submarine operations compared to standard lead-acid batteries and have increased the number of new submarine procurement programmes. The aim is to provide modern submarines with maximum tactical mobility, while at the same time reducing the indiscretion rate […]

Covert Demonstration: USVs Change the Stealth Game at Sea

Ukraine’s USV campaign in the Black Sea has demonstrated how uncrewed systems can have critical impact on naval warfare. Western navies and industry alike are taking this lesson onboard in uncrewed system operation and design. The use of stealth at sea by Ukraine, a country with lesser absolute and relative naval capability has enabled that […]



Future Vertical Lift (Maritime Strike): Status Report

The US Navy has begun the search for replacements for its shipboard manned and unmanned vertical lift aircraft. The Future Vertical Lift (Maritime Strike) or FVL (MS) program seeks to develop and acquire a ‘family of systems’ (FoS) including both manned and unmanned aircraft to replace rotary lift aircraft currently deployed aboard US Navy (USN) […]

Today’s Combat Shotgun Market

The shotgun might not have the ‘glamour’ of some other small arms, for instance it cannot successfully engage a target at 600 m. However in urban combat scenarios, the weapon truly comes into its own. At present many militaries are working towards the development and fielding of new generations of small arms that combine high […]

The Winding Path to Military Autonomous Vehicles

As militaries around the world test and deploy new autonomous vehicles, commercial enterprises are developing innovative solutions which could change the battlefield in both big and small ways. In late 2022, BAE Systems Australia supplied two fully autonomous vehicles (AVs) for a ‘battlefield simulation’ demonstration for the Australian Army. This is just one more milestone […]




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