March 2020 NATO report – ‘Science and Technology Trends 2020 to 2040

DefenceSynergia (DS) is pleased to publish a March 2020 NATO report – ‘Science and Technology Trends 2020 to 2040. We wonder if it is not a warning too – a compendium of potential ‘Threats’ for NATO to match or master.
DS would argue that HMG’s oft-quoted mantra that quality not quantity is the way ahead is nothing but a ‘paper tiger’ when our principal potential protagonists (China and Russia) not only field greater military ‘quantity’ but, in some areas a ‘qualitative’ technological edge. For example, The advent of operational Hypersonic Missile Technology is, we believe, a potential game-changer, albeit DS recognises that there are other Defence Analysts who challenge this theory and some Government Ministers who prefer not to discuss it for fear of letting the ‘funding’ genii out of the well-corked bottle.

Fortunately, in this NATO report the threat is recognised, see paragraph 2.4 page 19 Emergent Technologies which inter alia says this:  “Hypersonic weapons present considerable challenges to strategies and technologies for defensive countermeasures. This challenge is particularly acute due to the speeds involved and the possibility of large swarms. Countermeasures, employing soft kill approaches (e.g. jamming, deception, etc.) may be useful to some extent. Nevertheless, directed energy weapons (high energy lasers or particle beam) or space-based interceptors provide the best overall hope of a hard kill. These systems will need to be refined and be made operational, within the appropriate policy and legal constraints, if effective defensive countermeasures are to be deployed over the next ten years.” 
Over the next 10 years! Let us hope that our potential peer opponents allow the luxury of time, even as our political masters delay over finding and allocating the development funding.