Adam Baddeley, Editor
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Welcome to Soldier Modernisation,

Despite the undoubted pressures on defence budgets that have seen entire classes of platform retired early and iconic investments put up for sale even before their construction is complete, the importance of an effective dismounted close combat capability remains undimmed.

There have certainly been cutbacks. Nevertheless programmes such as Nett Warrior have kept on their aggressive procurement track. In France, delivery of FELIN continues unbowed with potential deployment to Afghanistan in 2011. Even when programmes have been disrupted as in the UK with the FIST 1B capability shifted to FIST 2 from 2015, the large sums made available for DS3 are testament to the fact that the infantry and marines really matter at the highest levels whatever the programmatic disruption.

Incremental acquisition has always been seen as a double edged sword, simply by the fact that investment and capability in such procurements are continually increased over the life of a programme. However, in a constrained budget environment this may be proven to be a relative advantage. Large land, sea and air platform programmes whose costs are measured in the hundreds of millions or more typically billions are becoming all or nothing items, easily cancelled, postponed or cut back. In contrast, the flow of soldier modernisation funding may be reduced but the funding continues and can be increased in better years. At least that's the hope.

Adam Baddeley

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