Technological innovation has accelerated in the maritime domain, and major navies worldwide must increasingly deal with emerging and disruptive technologies. Some of the most recent advancements in the field of naval combat systems have touched a number of key capabilities, including unmanned systems, quantum technology, hypersonic and conventional missiles, and directed energy weapons. Additionally, new geopolitical competitions are increasingly taking place on the global seas. Russia and China have invested in capabilities aimed at engaging enemy vessels at an increased range and/or disabling its infrastructures. The US Navy, for its part, is attempting to transition to a force with a larger proportion of small manned and unmanned ships, aircraft and underwater vehicles. In Europe, the French Navy has to juggle technological innovation with an overstretched fleet and the running costs of an independent nuclear deterrent, while the UK is seeking to leverage flexibility and lethality against similar constraints. On the other hand, the German Navy may not benefit from the ongoing uplift of its national defence budget. Italy is undergoing an important modernisation process which is increasing its capabilities for high-end naval warfare and power projection.
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