SMi MRAS 2022: Officials fear delays to EU unmanned ground vehicle project

by Alexander Stronell

Milrem Robotics' THeMIS (pictured) has been the front and centre of the EU's iMUGS project for a common unmanned ground system. In the follow-on stage, it is intended to move work onto a larger UGV integrating more autonomy and with comparable mobility to a tank. (Milrem Robotics)

Officials from some EU member states are concerned that the follow-on to the Integrated Modular Unmanned Ground System (iMUGS), the European Defence Fund (EDF) project to develop a common unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), is liable to be delayed by at least a year, Janes has learned.

Speaking to Janes following the SMi Military Robotics and Autonomous Systems 2022 (SMi MRAS 2022) conference in London, Martin Jõesaar, chief of project office – iMUGS with the Estonian Centre for Defence Investment, confirmed that EU officials discussing the allocation of funds for the EDF's 2021–27 budget are considering pushing back the next phase of the EU's UGV project in favour of work on a new main battle tank (MBT).

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UK MoD publishes first defence cloud road map

by Olivia Savage & Anika Torruella

The CIRRUS MoD cloud delivery model from the Cloud Strategic Roadmap that seeks to join the dots within Defence Digital and across the wider defence landscape. (MoD Crown Copyright 2023)

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has published the first edition of its ‘Cloud Strategic Roadmap for Defence'.

Released on 2 February, the road map outlines the vision, deliverables, and outcomes for achieving a “hyperscale cloud ecosystem” designed to span across all MoD “functions, commands, and enabling organisations”. This is intended to provide the foundation for future capabilities and drive emerging technology adoption in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data, analytics, machine learning, robotics, and synthetics.

The hyperscale cloud will consolidate and rationalise existing capabilities across various MoD classifications, in addition to designing new capabilities to offer a “single service across defence, through the delivery vehicle, CIRRUS (cohered delivery model)”. The delivery model aims to provide clear roles and accountability as well as structure to drive the UK's defence cloud activities, the MoD said.

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US DoD report urges more safeguards for small tech firms

by Marc Selinger

An aerial view of the Pentagon, the headquarters building for the US Department of Defense. (Getty Images)

The US Department of Defense (DoD) should increase its efforts to help small businesses protect their technology from foreign adversaries, according to the Pentagon's new “Small Business Strategy”.

Many small businesses do not realise that adversaries might try to gain access to their technology through joint ventures, mergers, acquisitions, or cyber espionage, the report says. The document recommends that the DoD offer education and training to make small businesses aware of such threats so they can take steps to counter them.

The 25-page report, which the Pentagon released on 26 January, also suggests that the department explore ways to promote greater domestic investment in small companies to reduce their reliance on overseas capital. The strategy recommends that the DoD create a working group to consider additional measures to help small businesses minimise risks from “foreign ownership, control, or influence (FOCI) operations”.

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Raytheon Technologies to merge two defence businesses

by Marc Selinger

Raytheon Technologies' products include the sea-launched Tomahawk cruise missile. (NAVAIR)

Raytheon Technologies (RTX) plans to streamline its organisation by combining its two defence-focused business units into one, the US-based company announced on 24 January.

Raytheon Intelligence & Space (RIS) and Raytheon Missiles & Defense (RMD) will become a single business called Raytheon. Aircraft parts maker Collins Aerospace and aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney will remain individual businesses within RTX.

RTX chief operating officer Christopher Calio said that combining RIS and RMD will improve internal collaboration and present a more united front to customers. “We've had customer feedback throughout the last couple of years about the need for us to figure out how to better integrate some of our solutions,” Calio told analysts.

RIS president Roy Azevedo will retire from his role and become an adviser to Calio, who will oversee the reorganisation. RTX plans to implement the merger in the second half of 2023. Asked whether RMD president Wesley Kremer will lead the combined defence business, an RTX spokesperson told Janes that “no decisions have been made”.

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