3D printing could revolutionise war and foreign policy

3D printing will revolutionise war and foreign policy, say experts, not only by making possible incredible new designs but by turning the defence industry — and possibly the entire global economy — on its head.

For many, 3D printing still looks like a gimmick, used for printing useless plastic figurines and not much else.

But with key patents running out this year, new printers that use metal, wood and fabric are set to become much more widely available — putting the engineering world on the cusp of major historical change. Continue reading

Chinese Hackers Stole Plans For Israel’s Iron Dome

China-based hackers stole plans for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system in 2011 and 2012, according to an investigation by a Maryland-based cyber security firm first reported by independent journalist Brian Krebs.

The hackers also stole plans related to other missile interceptors, including the Arrow 3, which was designed by Boeing and other U.S.-based companies.

According to Krebs, “the attacks bore all of the hallmarks of the ‘Comment Crew,’ a prolific and state-sponsored hacking group associated with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and credited with stealing terabytes of data from defense contractors and U.S. corporations.” The hackers gained access to the systems of three Israeli companies working on missile defense. Maryland-based Cyber Engineering Services could prove that 700 documents were stolen in the breach although it’s likely that the actual number is higher. Continue reading

The Elusive European Army

In both militarily intervention and investment in the defense industry, Europeans lack coordination and have lost credibility. Yet, after the French intervention in the Central African Republic, the issue has returned to the spotlight and will be discussed at the summit on December 19 and 20.

In 1991, the Belgian foreign minister of the time, Mark Eyskens, remarked on the EU’s incapacity to develop a common defence policy when he described Europe as “an economic giant, a political dwarf and a military worm.” In recent years, there is no denying that the EU has become more active in this field. But the grand and often expressed ambition for real investment in a common security and defence policy, which includes an independent military capacity, has yet to [sic] realised. And this continues to be the case at a time when global change is obliging Europeans to engage in a more serious consideration of security as an issue in common. Continue reading

Strategic ties with UAE likely to result in billion-pound defence contracts for UK

UK defence companies would benefit from a more energetic UK-UAE bilateral relationship, especially since the UAE is keen to replace its ageing Mirage fighter jets with the BAE Systems Typhoon in a deal worth $10 billion (c. £8bn), according to a new paper from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).

As the UK appears to strategically orientate its defence and security posture towards the Gulf region from 2014, with the Minhad airbase in Dubai undoubtedly forming a major focal point of the future British presence, new research suggests that the UAE government is also committed to reinvigorating its relationship with the British; possibly at the expense of other potential strategic alliances. Continue reading