Next Generation weapons and tactics Africans should take note of

 

Artist depiction of a future conflict
According to data exchanged on October 1, 2014 by Moscow and Washington, Russia has 1,643 deployed strategic warheads, compared with 1,642 for the US. Marginal difference in numbers but Russian land-based strategic forces have an explosive yield that is an order of magnitude greater than anything in the US.
Moscow’s primary deterrent is the mighty SS-18, a single one of which can destroy an area the size of New York state.

Depiction of Highly specialize troops
The threat of nuclear device is clearly recognized by all country who possess such devastating device. However, the use of nukes against any other country which possess  their own nuclear device will definitely result in the destruction of both countries and their unfortunate neighbors (Mutually Assured Destruction – MAD).
Nevertheless, with increasing sophistication in both weapons and tactics by various countries, there is a clear paradism shift in warfare.
For example, in 2016, the Russian Naval Forces in Syria used a corvette to fire volleys of long-range guided missiles onto targets miles away in Syria accurately. Such capabilities are quite new even for a technological giant like Russia and will likely be the mainstay of any future conflict.

Smaller and deadlier

In todays battlefield, we are witnessing smaller military platforms or forces engaging larger opponents, small infantry units taking on specialized units, Special forces engaging enemy’s own Special forces. Frigates taking on Destroyers and Cruisers. Smaller weapons systems are now making a strategic difference.

Special Forces 

Russian Special Forces

Its not a surprise that Special forces would be the on the list, Most countries already own and operates a contingency of powerful special forces components. In any future conflict, Special forces will play a very vital role by degrading and destroying enemy’s Communications and Command centers while also taking out Commanders simultaneously.

Image result for future soldier
A future soldier concept

Special forces and special operations forces are military units trained to perform unconventional missions.

Special forces emerged in the early 20th century, depending on the country, special forces may perform some of the following functions: airborne operations, counter-insurgency, “counter-terrorism”, foreign internal defense, covert ops, direct action, hostage rescue, high-value targets/man-hunting, intelligence operations, mobility operations, and unconventional warfare.

Special forces are usually the first into a battle-theater and likely the last one to get out. Therefore it is highly likely that Special force units will meet and engage their rival units on the field defending strategic targets like headquarters, bunkers and high-valued equipment.

Digital Soldier Concept

A digital soldier concept is a new revolutionary approach, designed to provide infantrymen with enhanced battlefield situational awareness, increased lethality and more firepower through harnessing powerful digital technologies.
Digital technologies are a powerful tools to enhance military warfighting capabilities and preparing for a future driven by data, autonomous systems and immersive technology.
So far only Sudan has taken the necessary steps to enhance its fighting capabilities in the nearest future through its ambitious advanced infantry fighting digital module known as the “Kombo Future Soldier System”. The module consists of a new combat gears for its infantryman developed locally under the code-name “Kombo”.
According to the Sudanese Army high command, the Kombo system is a Digitilized Integrated Soldier Combat System (SICS) to provide individual soldiers and squads with advanced combat equipment in order to enhance its fighting capabilities.
The Kombo Future Soldier System works by regarding the soldier as a platform or carrier for the integrated advanced combat technologies and it focuses on these key critical areas:
  • Firepower-Lethality Technology
  • Day/Night sight technology
  • High Performance Computer Technology
  • Self-Organising battlefield network/ICT
    Ballistic Protection.

 

Increased Naval Lethality

A corvette firing a guided missile
Modern naval vessels have evolved to an extent whereby they pack a lot of destructive punches. These corvettes and frigates carries very powerful supersonic anti-ship missiles.
Due to the sophistication of new technologies, more smaller naval vessels are able to carry larger more powerful military equipment on-board such as the Russian example given above.
As world economic crises keeps hitting hard majority of the worlds nations cannot afford very large ships for their navy so they opt for smaller ones with highly sophisticated targeting and fire-control system.
Very few countries have destroyers, there are probably three times more corvettes and frigates than destroyers on this earth therefore most countries will fight with their corvettes against enemy frigates while frigates will engage enemy destroyers e.t.c
A Frigate firing an anti ship missile.

Robots, Drones and Artificial intelligence

Robotic systems of today

Robots or drones are the future of warfare, We are living in the first age of drone warfare.The three major reasons why drones are regarded as the future of warfare are: they remove the risk to our soldiers, they make fewer mistakes than other combat platforms, and technology will continue to improve such that drones become even more precise, efficient, and infallible in the future, thus rendering less precise, efficient and fallible human forms of war obsolete.

Drone war

During the Invasion of Iraq by US forces, on 23 December 2002. Predators drone armed with AIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missiles were being used to “bait” Iraqi fighters, then run. In this incident, the Predator did not run, but instead fired one of its Stingers.
The Stinger’s heat-seeker became “distracted” by the MiG’s missile and missed the MiG. The Predator was hit by the MiG’s missile and destroyed. This was the first time in history a conventional aircraft and a drone had engaged each other in combat.

Armed drones in Africa

Recently, the United States MQ-9 Reaper drones stationed in Niger Republic are now permanently armed following tbe death of four US special forces soldiers. Likewise, the United Arab Emirates has stationed sophisticated Chinese-made Wing loong II UCAV in Eritrea, in order to better conduct precision strikes in the horn of Africa.

As more African nations are adopting drones for enhanced battlefield effectiveness, countries with light technological base are now producing indigenous unmanned aerial vehicles.

Such a country is Nigeria which has painstakingly built and designed the Tsaigumi Drone, while also exploring more potent options, considering that the country is still struggling with several insecurity challenges, Nigerian Air Force personnel strapped a dumb bomb on an hexacopter drone.

 

Unmanned patrol boat

Unmanned Ground vehicles

Presumably, in the next global conflict robotic systems and drones will be used by many countries. There will likely be cases where armored tanks will engage Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV) armed with anti-tank missiles in combat.
Soldiers will also face off terminator style robots which are stronger and faster. Also, search and destroy robotic mini-submarine will be used by more advanced countries to hunt for submarines and divers.
A proof of concept of a fully autonomous robot intended to combat Rhinoceros poachers and protect wildlife was unveiled by Paramount,  a South African based defense company.
The US Government and China is currently developing cheap drones that will attack in swarms and saturate enemy defenses.
robot of the future

Laser Systems

A directed-energy weapon (DEW) emits highly focused energy, transferring that energy to a target to damage it.
Potential applications of this technology include anti-personnel systems, potential missile defense system, and the disabling of lightly armored vehicles such as cars, drones, watercraft, and electronic devices such as mobile phones.
Ground based laser as seen today
Laser devices will shoot and destroy satellites in space with directed energy beam. In September, Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold, the head of Air Force Special Operations Command, said he wants to put a 120-kilowatt laser on a next-generation AC-130J Ghostrider gunship by the end of the decade.
And last year, the US Navy tested a 20-kilowatt laser aboard the amphibious transport ship USS Ponce. Satellites will be armed with projectiles guided or laser although there is a law banning the arming of space-based systems and many countries are already signatory to the law. Satellites might also be covered with reflective materials to prevent attack against it by ground based laser.

Laser weapons in Africa

It is no longer news that Chinese forces stationed in Djibouti were targeting United States aircraft overflying Camp Lemmonier, a military base few miles from the Chinese base.
The US pilots complained of lethal laser beams temporary blinding them and disrupting their aircraft electronics.

About the Author

Sarah Lesedi
Defense technological enthusiasts, African lover. Chief Chronicler at Sarah Lesedi blog.