Defence & Security Systems International Awards 2013

16 December 2013

Welcome to the inaugural Defence & Security Systems International Awards. In this issue, we announce the winners across various categories that illustrate growing defence management trends, innovations and priorities. Step forward, worthy winners.

Logistical innovation

With coalition operations the only possibility for most armed forces globally, the interoperability of equipment and command structures has become critical to successful modern war fighting. The Nordic Defence Cooperation (NORDEFCO) Military Coordination Committee has gone one step further and decided to also cooperate in defence materiel procurement.

"With coalition operations the only possibility for most armed forces globally, the interoperability of equipment and command structures has become critical to successful modern war fighting."

The aim is to simplify the procurement process, reduce costs and ease the logistics of coalition operations. To achieve this end, the committee has established the COPA ARMA, or Cooperation Area Armaments, tasked with identifying the materiel requirements of each of the Nordic countries, aligning these and procuring as necessary.

Echoing NORDEFCO's announcement, Major General Erik Gustavson of the Norwegian Armed Forces said: "By making joint acquisitions, we will gain cost benefits and interoperability in materiel procurement", which is seen as key for future operations.

Future soldier technology
Winner: FELIN

Reducing weight for the dismounted soldier has been a key aim for armed forces globally, with increased pack weight seriously impacting on the modern war fighter's ability to operate effectively in the field. Step in FELIN, by Sagem, a suite of new technologies aimed at reducing pack weight. Used by the French Army, FELIN includes an updated weapons system, wearable computer, communications and display system, integrated sensors, as well as new lightweight uniform, protection and headgear.

The new equipment weighs just 24kg, and recently received its first operational outing in Afghanistan. The French Army is working closely with Sagem, who have already taken on board the user feedback of operational forces and is now tweaking the designs further to improve its performance, while still maintaining low weight as the central tenant of the design.

"Biopharmaceutical research cannot exist without those that are willing to push innovation, and extract understanding and attention in the details," said Bruno Cohen, chairman of the Galien Foundation. "We are proud to honour those in the field that exemplify these values."

Cyber warfare initiative of the year
Winner: Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM)

Cyberattacks have never been far from the headlines in the past 12 months, with barely a week going by without relevations of massive security breaches at some of the world's largest private companies and public institutions. To protect itself from increasingly sophisticated, aggressive and numerous cyber attacks, the US Federal government has implemented CDM to safeguard its networks.

"To protect itself from sophisticated, aggressive and numerous cyberattacks, the US Federal government has implemented CDM."

By increasing network sensor capacity, automating sensor collections, and prioritizing risk alerts, network administrators will now have the ability to continuously monitor and diagnose potential security flaws. They will also be able to scan networks for potential problems before they arise, plugging any gaps in protection before they have been exploited and ultimately protecting the nation's data better than ever before.

Training and simulation innovation
Winner: The Connected Forces Initiative

In 2014, NATO will move being to prioritise operational preparedness, in place of operational engagement, which will mean shifting its focus to the maintenance of a high level of readiness. To achieve this, the Connected Forces Initiative will aim to ensure that NATO forces will be properly 'equipped, trained, exercised and led' at all times.

To do so, an expansion in education and training, and an increase in the number of exercises, as well as better use of technology, will all be employed. Plans for a large-scale exercise have already been announced for 2015, involving land, sea and air forces, to be hosted in Spain, Portugal or Italy.

The NATO secretary-general said that plans don't end there: "From 2016 onwards, we will conduct such major live exercises on a regular basis, with a broader scope and covering the full range of alliance missions. We have also agreed to draw up a broader concept for training and exercises up to 2020 - to make sure that everything we do is coherent and connected, within the alliance and with partner countries."

Land systems technology
Winner: Hitfact

The Hitfact (Highly Integrated Technology Firing Against Combat Tanks) turrets, from the OTO Melara division of Finmeccanica, are a new range of turrents that can be mounted on a wide selection of wheeled and tracked armoured vehicles. Available in 105 and 120mm calibres, these new turrets are some of the most advanced anti-tank devices available today.

"Available in 105 and 120mm calibres, these new turrets are some of the most advanced anti-tank devices available today."

In OTO Melara's own words: "The turret structure is in ballistic aluminium with steel armour plate, arranged so as to ensure appropriate passive protection; the external structure minimises the possibility of being noticed by sight, radar or laser."

Land systems technology winner: Hitfact
Logistical innovation winner: COPA ARMA
Cyber warfare initiative of the year winner: Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM)
Training and simulation innovation winner: The Connected Forces Initiative
Future soldier technology winner: FELIN

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