As we touched down with the Embraer EMB 120 in Geneva the other day, the lot was filled with sparsely coloured twin-turboprops of varying decent. The odd FlyBaboo Dash-8 and Swiss A320 were idling at the regular gates, but this is clearly not an airport made for regular passenger travel. It seems unfitting, somehow.
We were in this western Canton to discuss one of the most pressing challenges facing modern nation building today – the design of land-based artillery systems. Building a modern army is not simply a matter of heading down to IDEX in Abu Dhabi and buying the first armoured mortar system in sight. It takes commitment to the real issues involved in creating a sustainable defence system. Design being the primary concern, of course.
Our dinner discussions were long and infused by the local grapes from Domaine de Champlong, but we thought we’d summarize where the state of elegantly designed defence equipment stands, as of May 2010.
1. General Dynamics ASCOD2
Originally released back in 1992, this marvellous little collaboration between Santa Bárbara Sistemas and Steyr Daimler Puch in Austria got an update in 2003. We especially have our eyes on the Advanced Surveillance Vehicle, VCOAV.
2. CTA MTIP2
Sometimes, it’s all about the accessories. Add this turret to anything terrain-driven, and you’ve got yourself a handsome fighting machine.
3. M198 Howitzer
A classic that must be mentioned in these circumstances. 70’s designs are generally speaking nothing to write home about, but this field artillery unit has a certain je-ne-sais-quoi that refuses to fade.