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Technology Forecast 2019 – Military Utility of Future Technologies: A report from seminars at the Swedish Defence University’s (SEDU) Military Technology Division
Swedish Defence University, Department of Military Studies, Science of Command and Control and Military Technology Division, Military Technology Systems Section.
Swedish Defence University, Department of Military Studies, Science of Command and Control and Military Technology Division, Military Technology Systems Section.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6104-5788
Swedish Defence University, Department of Military Studies, Science of Command and Control and Military Technology Division, Military Technology Applications Section.
Swedish Defence University, Department of Military Studies, Science of Command and Control and Military Technology Division, Military Technology Applications Section.
2019 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Four technology forecast reports from the Fraunhofer Institute and two reports from the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) have been reviewed by staff at the Military Technology Division at the Swedish Defence University (SEDU). The task given by the Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) was to assess the military utility of the given technologies in a timeframe up to the year 2040, from a Swedish Armed Forces (SwAF) perspective. The assessment centred on 5G has the perspective 2030, due to the rapid development of telecommunication standards.

In the review, we assess the military utility of certain technologies as possible contributions to the operational capabilities of the SwAF, based on identified and relevant scenarios.

The technologies are grouped into four classes of military utility potential: significant, moderate, negligible or uncertain.

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

  • Cognitive Radar

The following technology was assessed to have a potential for moderate military utility:

  • 5G technologies in military applications

The following technology was assessed to have an uncertain potential military utility:

  • Multi-Domain UxS

The following technologies were assessed to have negligible military utility.

  • Blockchains
  • Optical Atomic Clocks

The method used in this technology forecast report was to assign each report to one reviewer in the working group. Firstly, each forecast report was summarized. A new methodological step this year was for each reviewer to discuss the assigned technologies with researchers from FOI. This proved to be a valuable enhancement for understanding the technologies’ present state and likely future development.

The chosen definition of military utility clearly affects the result of the study. The definition used here, ‘the military utility of a certain technology is its contribution to the operational capabilities of the SwAF, within identified relevant scenarios’ has been used in our Technology Forecasts since 2013.

Our evaluation of the method used shows that there is a risk that assessments can be biased by the participating experts’ presumptions and experience from their own field of research. It should also 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 specific scenarios, not in general. When additional results have been found in the analysis, this is mentioned.

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 are believed to provide a broad and balanced coverage of the technologies being studied. This report should be seen as an executive summary of the research reports and the intention is to help the SwAF Headquarters to evaluate the military utility of emerging technologies within identified relevant scenarios.

Overall, the research reports are considered to be balanced and of high quality in terms of their level of critical analysis regarding technology development. These reports are in line with our task to evaluate the military utility of the emerging technologies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Försvarshögskolan (FHS), 2019. , p. 32
Keywords [en]
technology forecast, military utility, Swedish Armed Forces, twenty year perspective
Keywords [sv]
teknisk prognos, militär nytta, scenario, Försvarsmakten, tjugoårsperspektiv
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies
Research subject
Military Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-8750OAI: oai:DiVA.org:fhs-8750DiVA, id: diva2:1354393
Funder
Swedish Armed Forces, 1129002Available from: 2019-09-25 Created: 2019-09-25 Last updated: 2019-11-07Bibliographically approved

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Lundmark, MartinAndersson, KentBull, PeterDansarie, Marcus

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