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BAE Systems' top defence technologies to watch in 2024

This article from BAE Systems raises some interesting points in its run-down of the top defence technologies to watch in 2024. Here are some highlights:

Multi-Domain Integration (MDI) – the five defence domains (land, air, sea, cyber and space) will become much more integrated in terms of data sharing and systems integration in 2024, in so-called Multi-Domain Integration (MDI). To my mind, as the two newer defence domains of cyber and space become more important (both in terms of intelligence-gathering and areas of conflict) data-sharing and systems integration between the five domains will become ever more necessary to give the swift and effective defence capability required.

Dual-Use Space Capability – it is predicted that the infrastructure and regulation of dual-use space assets (i.e. those that can be used for both civil and defence purposes) will change in a major way. This, the authors think, is what is necessary for dual-use capability in the UK to flourish. It does seem to me that further regulation is necessary to ensure the right people are making the decisions (who remembers the debate when Elon Musk had the final decision on whether his Starlink platform should be allowed to provide internet to Ukrainian military forces when other options had failed).

AI in Defence – more explosive growth as we have seen in 2023 is predicted for AI in defence, but more regulation too – which is particularly important in defence applications. BAE sees a greater need for on-premises AI models as compared to cloud-based systems, to give better security of data.

Quantum Sensors – these are predicted to come to play a significant role in defence this year. Some of the more intriguing things they will be able offer are: enhanced threat detection and surveillance as they are able to detect subtle changes in the environmental conditions; and, by making use of quantum effects, they will be able to provide countermeasures against stealth and hypersonic targets where traditional radar systems would have fallen short.

With all this technological innovation taking place it is important to have a proper IP strategy in place to protect R&D investments and prevent copying. With such a strategy, effective decisions can be made about what innovations to protect and how, be it with patents, trade secrets, registered designs, trade marks or other forms of IP. 

With the Integrated Review Refresh and the Defence Command Paper, which set out to ‘strengthen collective security and defence... at home and overseas’, there has never been more impetus to embrace new technologies for operational advantage across all defence domains.


data & connectivity, defence, artificial intelligence, digital transformation, mechanical engineering, patents