Making sure that the battlefield is digitised

Martin Belam  by Martin Belam, 29 July 2004

On my TV at 22:49 this evening...

Manisha Tank (Business Today presenter, BBC News 24):

"The way that we handle defence has had to have changed over the past couple of years because of the nature of warfare. It's changing, the enemies are different. How is that impacting on firms such as Boeing, EADS for example."

Nick Fothergill (analyst, Banc of America Securities):

"Well they're all trying to combat this thing called asymmetric warfare, which is basically fighting unseen enemies more technically and using data. And they're doing it through a thing called network enabled capability here in the UK or network centric warfare as it's buzzed in America. What is it? It's spending money on unmanned combat aviation vehicles. Drones in the sky. Satellites. Making sure that the battlefield is digitised. It means that you can command and control your troops in more of a peace-keeping environment, and it means you can see who is waiting for you in an alleyway round the corner. And that sort of thing is quite technical as well as requiring boots on the ground, which is a sad way that the UK budget seems to have gone as we've had to cut troops in order to be able to fund some of this antiquated equipment in the near term."

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