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Thunqvist, Ola
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Silfverskiöld, S., Liwång, H., Hult, G., Bull, P., Persson, B., Thunqvist, O., . . . Sturesson, P. (2016). Technology Forecast 2016: The Military Utility of Future Technologies: a Report from seminars at the Swedish Defence University’s Military-Technology Division. Stockholm: Försvarshögskolan (FHS)
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Technology Forecast 2016: The Military Utility of Future Technologies: a Report from seminars at the Swedish Defence University’s Military-Technology Division
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2016 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Three technology forecast reports from the Fraunhofer Institute and four reports on literature studies (sometimes called scanning reports) from the Swedish Defence Research Institute (FOI) have been reviewed by staff at the Military-Technology Division at the Swedish Defence University (SEDU). The task given by the Defence Material Administration FMV was to assess the military utility of the given technologies in a time frame to 2040, from a Swedish Armed Forces (SwAF) point of view.

In the review we assess the military utility of a certain technology as a possible contribution to the operational capabilities of the SwAF, based on identified relevant scenarios. Since a new capability catalogue is under development at the SwAF Headquarters, this report will only present general assessments of the capability impact from the technologies under study.

The technologies were grouped into four classes: potentially significant, moderate, negligible, or uncertain military utility.

The following technology was assessed to have a potential for significant military utility;

 Multi robot systems

The following technologies were assessed to have a potential for moderate military utility;

 Over-the-Horizon Radar

 Space-based imaging radar

The following technology was found to have negligible military utility.

 Moving Target Defence

The following technologies were assessed to have uncertain military utility;

 Software-Defined Networking

 Transient Materials- Programmed to Perish, but this technology should be monitored since it might reach high technical readiness level (TRL) by 2050-60

The method used in this technology forecast report was to assign each report to one reviewer in the working group. First, a summary of each forecast report was made. The Fraunhofer assessment of TRL in the time period to 2035 was held to be correct. The technology was then put into one or more scenarios that were deemed to be suitable in order to assess the military utility as well as indicate possibilities and drawbacks of each technology. Based on a SWOT-analysis, the assessed contribution to the fundamental capabilities and to the factors DOTMPLFI (Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Personnel, Leadership, Facilities and Interoperability) were listed. Furthermore, the expected requirements on the SwAF R&D in order to facilitate the introduction of the technology are given.

As a consequence of our continuing development of the evaluation process, we have for the first time used a model developed at the division of Military-Technology to assess the Military utility1 of the technologies. Finally, conclusions and an overall rating regarding the potential military utility of each technology were presented.

The chosen definition of military utility clearly affects the result of the study. The definition (the military utility of a certain technology is its contribution to the operational capabilities of the SwAF, within identified relevant scenarios) is the same as used in our Technology Forecasts since 2013.

Our evaluation of the method used shows that there is a risk that the assessment is biased by the participating experts’ presumptions and experiences from their own field of research. Also, it should be stressed that the six technologies’ potential military utility was assessed within the specific presented scenarios, and their possible contribution to operational capabilities within those scenarios, not in general. When additional results have been found in the analysis this is mentioned. The last chapter of this report analyzes thinking and debate on war and warfare in three military great powers: USA, Russia and China. Therefore, this chapter has a different structure. Aspects of military technology are discussed at the end of the chapter, but no assessment of the military utility is made.

The greatest value of the method used is its simplicity, cost effectiveness and that it promotes learning within the working group. The composition of the working group and the methodology used is believed to provide a broad and balanced coverage of the technologies under study. This report is to been seen as an executive summary of the Fraunhofer reports and the reports on literature studies from FOI. The intention is to help the SwAF Headquarters to evaluate the military utility of emerging technologies within identified relevant scenarios.

Overall, the quality of the Fraunhofer reports is considered to be balanced and of a high level of critical analysis regarding technology development. These reports are in line with our task to evaluate the military utility of the emerging technologies. The FOI reports are considered to be high quality. However, the selection of topics can be discussed since the selection

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Försvarshögskolan (FHS), 2016. p. 40
militär nytta, teknisk prognos, omvärldsanalys
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Military Technology
urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-6298 (URN)

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Available from: 2016-08-30 Created: 2016-08-30 Last updated: 2019-08-26Bibliographically approved

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