How Technology is Modernizing the Military

How Technology is Modernizing the Military

The military has always been a critical segment of society, accounting for more than 10 percent of the U.S.’s total federal budget in 2022.1 Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, there is a renewed focus across the globe on both current defense capabilities and new technologies with the potential to transform military equipment in the future.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has played a central role in driving activity in response to Ukraine crisis; its 30 member states across the world have provided weapons and other support at unprecedented levels to help Ukraine.2

This support comes with increased military spend. In a Department of Defense (DOD) statement by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III, he said the 2023 defense budget includes $130+ billion for R&D because, “We understand the need to sharpen our readiness in advanced technology, cyber, space and artificial intelligence.”3 Similarly, the European Defence Agency (EDA) annual Defence Data Report found that European member states invested more than ever before on procurement of equipment and R&D for defense between 2020 and 2021; investment grew 16 percent to reach a record €52 billion in 2021 (more than $55 billion in USD).4

A significant portion of these dollars is going towards upgrading equipment and exploring the latest technologies so countries can remain agile in the face of ever-changing threats. The National Intelligence Council’s Future of the Battlefield report states that, in the next 20 years, “The combination of improved sensors, automation, and artificial intelligence (AI) with hypersonics and other advanced technologies will produce more accurate, better connected, faster, longer range, and more destructive weapons.”5

Technologies Key to Military Modernization

To prepare for the future of warfare, the U.S. DOD has established the Rapid Defense Experimentation Reserve program to close gaps in warfighting capabilities and collaboratively discover new and innovative techniques. The program plans to explore the following critical technology areas6:

  • Biotechnology and Quantum Sciences
  • Advanced Materials
  • Future G (beyond 5G technology)
  • AI and Autonomation / Autonomy
  • Microelectronics—Manufacturing and fabrication of very small electronic designs and components
  • Space Technology
  • Advanced Computing and Software 
  • Renewable and Direct Energy
  • Integrated Networks
  • Systems of Systems—A group of independent systems integrated into a larger system, delivering unique capabilities
  • Human-machine Interfaces
  • Hypersonics—Weapons that travel more than five times the speed of sound
  • Integrated Sensing and Cyber Technologies

The EDA has also established 13 Capability Technology groups (CapTechs) to explore different research and technology areas, identify gaps and uncover common interest areas among different European countries. These groups—made up of governmental organizations, industry stakeholders, academics and research and technology organizations (RTOs)—are exploring information systems and networks for communication, sensor technologies, cybersecurity and more.  

UAV Example

An example of a military technology undergoing modernization efforts is the drone and other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). In 2021, the global military drone market was valued at more than $13 billion. It is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.7% by 2028 to reach $26 billion.7 UAVs are commonly used for mapping and surveying, monitoring, transporting goods and executing combat operations. 

Incorporating technologies like AI into military drones can help them automatically and precisely select targets, quickly and accurately avoid obstacles and fly together seamlessly with other drones. As compared to manually controlling all of a drone’s activities, AI also allows drone operators to focus on other strategic areas such as where the drone is headed.8   

Sensing technologies are another critical component to drone operation. Sensors and switches in the engine, landing gear, brakes, wheels, flight controls and even weapons systems detect critical elements like position, airspeed, temperature and altitude. As sensor capabilities have expanded over time, they can offer even better diagnostics and advanced measurements for use in sophisticated applications like UAVs.

How Honeywell is on the Front Lines

Honeywell’s sensing and safety technologies have been mission-critical elements of military technology since World War II, in everything from armored vehicles on the ground to aircraft, ships, submarines, drones and more. We help enhance military equipment operation and offer highly customizable and easy-to-integrate solutions for a variety of different purposes. To learn more about how we are contributing to military modernization in 2023, contact us or visit our website.  


  1. https://executivegov.com/articles/u-s-defense-budget-2022-how-much-does-the-united-states-spend-on-its-defense-budget/#:~:text=COVID%2D19%20pandemic.-,What%20percent%20of%20the%20US%20budget%20is%20spent%20on%20military,defense%20and%20non%2Ddefense%20spending 
  2. www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_37750.htm
  3. www.defense.gov/News/Releases/Release/Article/2980014/the-department-of-defense-releases-the-presidents-fiscal-year-2023-defense-budg 
  4. https://eda.europa.eu/news-and-events/news/2022/12/08/european-defence-spending-surpasses-200-billion-for-first-time-driven-by-record-defence-investments-in-2021 
  5. www.dni.gov/index.php/gt2040-home/gt2040-deeper-looks/future-of-the-battlefield 
  6. www.defense.gov/News/News-Stories/Article/Article/3155206/modernization-of-armed-forces-a-collaborative-effort-official-says
  7. www.globenewswire.com/en/news-release/2022/12/13/2572423/0/en/Top-News-Military-Drone-Market-Size-Share-to-Surpass-26-0-Billion-by-2028-Vantage-Market-Research.html
  8. www.analyticsvidhya.com/blog/2022/07/the-power-of-artificial-intelligence-in-drones/#:~:text=AI%2Denabled%20drones%20can%20make,and%20navigate%20through%20tight%20spaces

Others - www.defense.gov/News/News-Stories/Article/Article/3235565/dod-scouts-innovative-ideas-from-industry-allies-partners; www.defense.gov/News/News-Stories/Article/Article/3277453/dod-modernization-relies-on-rapidly-leveraging-commercial-technology; https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-biden-politics-germany-united-states-government-1fa253e2142150fc1791f7ca4a048ffb; www.mckinsey.com/industries/aerospace-and-defense/our-insights/invasion-of-ukraine-implications-for-european-defense-spending; https://explodingtopics.com/blog/military-technology-trends; www.thomasnet.com/insights/5-technology-trends-in-the-u-s-military