RUAG Defence, the Swiss specialists in protection, discuss if the meaning of protection on today’s battlefield is changing and if the traditional understanding of what needs to be protected has evolved. As we move into 2014 RUAG also share some insights on developments in response to the changing nature of warfare.
Unfortunately, 2013 saw conflicts break out or intensify in a number of places around the world, displacing millions of civilians and injuring thousands of men, women and children both in uniform and out of it. The slow withdrawal of coalition forces from a long conflict has done little to calm the world and bring order. Against this backdrop of increased unrest, is the increased restriction on defence budgets being witnessed amongst many of the world’s traditional defence spenders. Change is certainly in the air as 2014 begins, not only are the traditional peace keepers increasingly making way for new ones, traditional threats are being overtaken by progressively asymmetric threats and forces on the battlefield plus the rise of the “Cyber Soldier” off it.
Amongst all this change, the role of the defence industry remains steadfast. A country remains within its rights to protect itself and its citizens as well as the human rights of individuals who can’t protect themselves. The Swiss have a distinguished history of defending their boarders and developing technology and solutions to support this goal. Central to this is the maintenance of one of the most modern and well equipped armed forces in the world. Helping support the Swiss Armed Forces and it maintain its defensive capabilities is RUAG Defence. RUAG can trace its history back over 150 years, and continues to be dedicated to supporting, alongside its home country, nations across four continents in the defence of their boarders and the protection of their citizens.
The Key Theme: ProtectionProtection is a key theme for RUAG as the Swiss company has long been punching above its weight when it comes to producing add-on kits for heavy vehicles. RUAG has already shared about the SidePRO KE/IED, a passive armour that was specifically designed in response to the asymmetric warfare soldiers currently face on the battlefield and the use by opposing forces of standard weapons in unconventional ways. The experiences of peace keepers, however, indicate that opposing forces are increasingly gaining access to more sophisticated and dangerous weapons. So while RPGs and IEDs targeting the side and underneath of the vehicle remain a threat to peace keepers on deployment, the likelihood of coming under fire from bomblets fired from mortars and self-propelled artillery systems posing an additional threat to the roof of their vehicles is increasing. No longer is protecting the side of a vehicle against RPGs enough, peace keepers must extend and enhance their protection to meet the extended range of threats that includes attacks from above. RUAG has extensive experience in developing roof protection kits as well as the side protection it is best known for, and the Swiss are being increasingly called upon to reinforce the roofs of peace keeping vehicles as they seek to mirror the changing nature of the threats against them.
For more, please see International Armoured Vehicles Special Issue pages 20-21, available at the show.