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Military

It sounds like an old Goon Show joke, but soldiers may one day protect themselves from blasts by wallpapering temporary shelters. It may not be very decorative, but the new ballistic wallpaper under development by the US Army Corps of Engineers uses a special fiber inlay to help prevent walls from collapsing under blast effects.

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It's not uncommon for technology developed for the military to eventually find its way into consumer products, but the US Army is taking things in the other direction. In an effort to improve the safety of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, it is fitting them with electronic stability control (ESC) technology like that found in commercial vehicles for years.

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The smallest distraction can break a golfer's concentration and ruin their shot, so how would they react to tanks and explosions? If they were at the 18 hole course at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, last week, probably not at all. That's because the fairways and greens were only turned into a battlefield complete with tanks, mortar fire, and smoke thanks to the Office of Naval Research's (ONR) Augmented Immersive Team Trainer (AITT), which made the firefight visible only to participants wearing special glasses.

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BAE Systems is aiming to bring augmented reality to the battlefield as it develops a new system that would overlay virtual information on the real world. The company believes that in a timeframe of 20 years we could see the system condensed into a contact lens. Working in conjunction with the University of Birmingham, BAE is confident that the new tech could be applied to provide an edge in battle, or save lives in an emergency situation.

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Earlier this year Sandia National Laboratories fired a nuclear warhead out of a cannon in New Mexico. The reason you didn't hear an earth-shattering kaboom is because it was an inactive weapon that was fired into a tank of water as part of a federal program to improve the longevity and effectiveness of the US nuclear stockpile. Read More

In military parlance, the job of a soldier is to find, fix, and finish the enemy. However, this is a bit difficult when the soldier has to fumble with different scopes while keeping eyes on the target. To simplify things, BAE Systems is developing a combination night vision and thermal imaging system that not only allows soldiers to rapidly acquire and engage targets in all weather and lighting, but also to remotely aim their weapons without looking through the sights.

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DARPA has conducted a new test of its self-steering bullets, with both experienced and novice shooters successfully hitting moving targets. The testing proves the effectiveness of the projectile, which was developed under the Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program, but the agency is still playing its cards close to its chest when it comes to how the technology actually works. Read More
If Formula1 racers are thoroughbreds that need to pampered and cosseted, then armored combat vehicles are warhorses that need to stand up to the worst of the worst. That makes it a surprise when BAE Systems announces that it's taken an active damping suspension designed for F1 cars and adapted it for Sweden's Combat Vehicle 90 (CV90). Billed as a world's first for a tracked vehicle, the upgrade is claimed to improve battlefield speed and handling. Read More
The US Navy's X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) aircraft has gone out on a high note (and added yet another acronym to the military lexicon) by conducting the first ever Autonomous Aerial Refueling (AAR) exercise. The autonomous aircraft rendezvoused with an Omega K-707 tanker plane off the coast of Maryland and Virginia, successfully taking on 4,000 lb (1,814 kg) of jet fuel as it completed the project's final test objective. Read More
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has revealed that it has been conducting demonstrations of swarming unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at various locations over the past month. The demonstrations were part of the Low-Cost UAV Swarming Technology (LOCUST) program, which is developing quick launching UAV swarm technology to overwhelm adversaries. Read More
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