In early 2009 proposals for a broader security and industrial compact emerged among Europe’s northern nations, in part as a response to a growing void at NATO’s center. It has been over a year since this landmark report on closer Nordic cooperation was released. The 13-point proposal was always very ambitious, complete with calls for a complete overhaul of the Nordic security structure, and the creation of an integrated Nordic military. As such one must be careful not to expect too much over so short a period of time, nor to underestimate the many obstacles still ahead.
While very specific, the Stoltenberg Rapport is all about the long term, as the external pressures it envisions come to impact the nations involved. Having said that, it is important to be aware of the substantial divergences in the views on security among the Nordic countries, something that continues to be a cause for difficulties. The pace of integration was never going to be solely dictated by its proponents’ high idealism, nor by the basically positive sentiment towards Nordic integration that exist even in supposedly neutral nations such as Finland and Sweden…
The USA’s M2/M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles have played a central role in armed operations in Iraq. Many of them are now doing it with special reactive applique armor tiles that significantly improve their protection against anti-tank rockets. General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products Inc. in Burlington, VT is the main supplier, in conjunction with Israel’s RAFAEL who pioneered the design.
The add-on armor kit for the M2/M3 Bradleys, for instance, includes 105 tiles that look like small boxes and attach to the sides, the turret and the front of each vehicle. The armor is some of the most advanced in the world, and includes both passive protection of strong material that diverts the rocket, plus reactive protection. That reactive protection uses a very special, insensitive explosive that is detonated only when hit by a missile or rocket; it will not react to other heat sources, or lesser impacts from small arms or shell fragments. The resulting explosion disrupts the incoming armor-penetrating blast jet. That’s the theory, anyway. What have the results been like? Have improvements been made? What purchases have taken place, and when?