Friendly fire avoidance, USN plans for LCS and spotlight on UK air power

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In this episode of the Weekly Defence Podcast we bring you the latest news from the air, land and naval domains: we explore how the industry continues to respond to COVID-19 in the UK and around the world, and dive into military technologies and latest developments from Europe, Middle East and Australia. We also include an interview about UK air power and key RAF acquisitions.

Newsround (00:18)
Europe
Norway has become the first country in the world to receive the Vehicle Reconnaissance System (VRS) variant of the Black Hornet nano-UAV. The VRS is designed to equip armoured vehicles with a self- contained surveillance system and is currently being tested by the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment.

Despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the annual Victory Day parade in Moscow is expected to go ahead on 9 May, with the TOS-2 Tosochka MLRS to be displayed for the first time. The MLRS includes an improved fire control system with AI, as well as an increased maximum firing range.

The German MoD has not concluded discussions on its Tornado replacement acquisition as the COVID-19 crisis continues. This is despite indications that a mixed fleet buy of 90 Eurofighter Typhoon, 30 F/A-18 Super Hornet and 15 EA-18G Growler combat aircraft will be approved.

The EU on 31 March announced the launch of a new Common Security and Defence Policy operation in the Mediterranean. Operation Irini replaces Operation Sophia, as the effort continues to enforce the 2011 UN Security Council arms embargo on Libya.

Middle East
In Israel, technology originally developed by SafeShoot to prevent friendly fire incidents among ground troops has been modified and extended to include helicopter pilots and UCAV operators. Green Shield uses sensor fusion to measure the position and weapon direction of all connected devices.

Focus:
Four US Navy Littoral Combat Ships – two each from the Freedom and Independence classes – will be taken out of service by the end of March 2021. Senior Editor - Naval Richard Thomas and News Editor Ben Vogel discuss the factors behind this decision and the implications for the USN, which also faces broader questions over sustainment costs for key programmes.

-Land Reporter Flavia Camargos Pereira talks about recent developments in Australia, where the Robotic and Autonomous Systems Implementation Coordination Office (RICO) has allocated A$5 million ($3.6 million) to accelerate the adoption of disruptive technologies.

Established within the Future Land Warfare Branch of Land Capability Division, RICO will work to advance knowledge in AI/machine learning, autonomous leader-follower trucks and optionally crewed combat vehicles.

Deep Dive (17:18)
In an exclusive interview, Air Editor Tim Martin speaks to Brian Burridge, CEO of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) about UK air power and key RAF acquisitions like the E-7 Wedgetail AEW&C platform and Protector UAV. They also discuss the role of the RAeS and its members on the next-generation Tempest fighter programme.

Music and sound mixing by Fred Prest

75 episodes