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As Tensions Rise in the East, Europe’s Militaries Shop for Heavier Weapons

09/17/2015

LONDON --- Russia’s invasion of Crimea and its aggressive stances along Europe’s eastern borders have NATO militaries racing to rebuild their combined-arms skills — and Western defense companies revamping their product lines to suit. 

The return of what one European business executive called “more traditional threats” was reflected at Defence Security Exposition International, better known as DSEI, where armor and air-defense batteries are shouldering aside the lighter, less expensive gear of counterinsurgency. Much has changed in the two years since a thousand-plus weapons manufacturers last gathered at this massive arms bazaar in southeast London. 

“Defense was then in a different place, preparing for the drawdown from Afghanistan, readying itself to face new threats in our new age of contingency,” British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon told an audience at DSEI. “It turns out we didn’t have to wait too long.” 

The show’s two sprawling halls were packed with tanks, armored vehicles, long-range cruise missiles, drones of all sizes, high-tech electronics, and other equipment. Behind the massive building, a handful of warships from the Royal Navy, Canada, Germany, and India tied up at the Royal Victoria Dock off the Thames River. Sailors of many lands welcomed visitors aboard to show off cutting-edge equipment. 

The booths and displays still proffered a hefty measure of weapons built for counterinsurgency – armored trucks, machine guns and IED jammers — but less than at the peak of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, attendees said. NATO military leaders believe this type of equipment will still be needed for the wars ahead, which are expected to feature a hybrid mix of traditional fighting and militant insurgency.

 

 

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(Source: Defense One; posted 17.09.2015)
Date: 
09/17/2015
Defense Products & Services Sectors: 

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