In the past decades, China has profoundly invested in the modernization of China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) moving China to the first position as the world’s largest maritime force with its size expected to grow in the future (U.S. Department of Defense 2021). Whereas China’s initial goal is to strengthen its Navy to match or surpass the United States global influence or power in the Indo-Pacific region, it is also to project its forces to protect China’s national interests abroad and gain a more important place in the international system. In doing so, China is using a combination of economic, political, and military tools, under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), to evade the United States’ containment strategy and secure its strategic position.
The security environment in Europe has and is still experiencing significant changes in its configuration. If the 2016 referendum and the United Kingdom’s exit from the Europe- an Union – the so-called Brexit – significantly altered the nature and level of defence cooper- ation on the continent. Seemingly in the long term, the February 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine reminded all Europeans how not cooperating with countries sharing the same values and principles was not a strategically sensible approach and even created unneces- sary risks for the concerned nations.
The Swedish Ministry of Defence has awarded a $50 million worth public tender to Leonardo DRS for the supply of thermal weapon sights. The American company will provide Sweden with more than 4600 infrared Individual Weapon Sights (IWS), including weapon-mounted sights, designed both for small guns (3,100 units) and for long-range arms, such as heavy machine guns and sniper rifles (1500 units).
The Associated Press (AP) reports that Germany and the Netherlands will deploy their armed forces’ Patriot Air Defence Systems in Slovakia. Notably, the deployment comes after an official request made by NATO to the two-member states; it is unclear whether Slovakia previously made a request to NATO. The deployment must be understood twofold: First, as conventional deterrence and second, as an exercise in signalling NATO’s commitment to its eastern member states.
Six weeks after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and as talks are getting louder about a possible integration of Sweden into NATO, the Försvarsmakten (Swedish Armed Forces) announced on 4 April 2022 that it had signed a technical agreement with Finland, Estonia, and Latvia to cooperate in a joint-procurement effort. These countries will thus jointly develop a new 6×6 armoured personnel carrier (APC) under the Finnish-led Common Armoured Vehicle System (CAVS) programme, in cooperation with the Finnish armoured vehicle manufacturer Patria.