In this article, we will present the seven technologies under development, which are at different stages of technological maturation, but which all have the potential to profoundly transform the battlefield by 2040, to the point of creating new forms of war or confrontation hitherto unknown, or even to render obsolete certain technologies which today represent a strategic pivot of the organisation of La Défense: directed energy weapons, quantum computers, hypersonic weapons, intelligence artificial intelligence, rail guns, robotics and the controversial neutrino detectors.
In the last decades, the birth of super-fast integrated computer systems and the role of artificial intelligence (Al) in information systems have deeply affected both the civilian sector and the defence and security sectors. Cybersecurity, surveillance systems, state of the art AI, and automated software have played a central role in combating terrorism and establishing effective communication between different organisations without being interfered with or intercepted by the enemy.
The launch of the €7.9 billion European Defence Fund (EDF) materialises years of talks and debates over the emergence of a European defence industrial and technological cooperation. The EDF is set to finance defence capability and critical technologies projects such as the next generation of aircraft fighters, tanks, semiconductors, cybersecurity, or communication systems.
Evolving within a theatre of operations implies evolving in a minefield, both literally and figuratively. Land force operations often take place in conflict zones, on ground that has been altered by past or present combat. The death and injury of thousands is caused every year by several kinds of mines: improvised explosive devices (IEDs); unexploded but still armed munitions (UXOs); or explosive remnants of past wars (ERWs) (UNMAS, 2015) which remain in place. Today it is estimated that more than 100 million armed mines remain active (MINESWEEPERS, 2016).
Advances in data, computer processing power, and machine learning have enabled the rapid development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) over the last two decades . Consequently, AI technologies are becoming ubiquitous in daily life. Biometric authentication, mobile mapping and navigation systems, natural language processing, and targeted online marketing are a few of the many ways that this technology has been incorporated into daily life. It is little wonder, then, that AI also offers great military promise.