Defence in the media: Thursday 21 June

Today’s defence related news includes the Defence Secretary’s call on European allies to increase their defence spending, continued coverage of the RUSI Land Warfare Conference as well as coverage of the British Army’s trial of new cutting edge equipment.

Defence Secretary calls on European allies to increase defence spending

Gavin Williamson has written an op-ed for The Times stating that “Europe cannot expect to outsource its defences to American taxpayers”.  The Times front page carries comments on the op-ed with quotes from NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. BBC Radio 4 Today also reported on Jens Stoltenberg’s appeal to NATO to work together.

Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson said:

We welcome the fact that many European allies are increasing their defence spending but our continent has to take greater responsibility for its own security. Europe cannot expect to outsource its defences to American taxpayers.

RUSI Land Warfare conference

 The Sun, Daily Mirror and The Daily Record all cover speeches given by title Minister for the Armed Forces Mark Lancaster and Chief of General Staff Mark Carleton-Smith at the RUSI Land Warfare conference yesterday. The Minister for the Armed Forces launched the Autonomous Warrior experiment, testing and evaluating the effectiveness of robotic and autonomous systems, in his speech and the Chief of the General Staff devoted his first speech since taking up the post to the increasing threats that the UK faces and how best to meet them.

Defence Minister Mark Lancaster said

Our Armed Forces continue to push the limits of innovative warfare to ensure that we stay ahead of any adversaries or threats faced on the battlefield.

Autonomous Warrior sets an ambitious vision for Army operations in the 21st Century as we integrate drones, unmanned vehicles and personnel into a world-class force for decades to come.

Gen Mark Carleton-Smith said

We need a more proactive, threat-based approach to our capability planning, including placing some big bets on those technologies that we judge may offer exponential advantage because given the pace of the race, to fall behind today is to cede an almost unquantifiable advantage from which it might be impossible to recover.

You can read more about autonomous warrior here.

Dismounted Situational Awareness Tool

 Press Association have released content on the Dismounted Situational Awareness Tool based on its trial by soldiers from the Queens Dragoon Guards on the recent Exercise Sabre Strike 18 in Poland. The Daily Telegraph write that the new equipment is a ‘game changer’ and suggests the trial confirms that the new head of the Army’s belief that the MOD must place ‘big bets’ on technology.

A British Army spokesman said:

As part of a recent joint exercise between the US and British Armies, a unit from the Queen’s Dragoon Guards was equipped with a battlespace management application that allowed improved communications between UK and US forces.

We are constantly testing and evaluating the latest cutting edge equipment on the market and continue to work with our allies to assess innovative technology that will ensure our forces remain prepared for every eventuality in the field.


Image of the day

Flight Lieutenant Russell “Rusty” Waughman flies a Boeing Steerman with the RAF100 Baton on-board.