Imagine if you were to carry over 100 lb (45 kg) of gear in a backpack, for several hours at a time. Well, that’s just what some soldiers have to do, and it can cause great stress to their torso and legs. That’s why engineers at the Australia’s Department of Defence have developed a new exoskeleton, that diverts two thirds of pack weight directly to the ground.
In today's world, vacuum tubes or radio valves seem as dead as high button shoes and buggy whips, but DARPA sees them as very much the technology of the future. As part of a new program, the agency is looking to develop new tube designs and manufacturing techniques for use in tomorrow's high-powered communications and radar systems.
The US Marine Corps has declared the F-35B Lightning II operational. Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121, based in Yuma, Arizona, which has ten of VSTOL multi-role fighters, was today officially cleared for worldwide deployment after a five-day Operational Readiness Inspection.
Bulletproof vests are great if you happen to get shot, but what happens if you get shot on a boat and fall overboard or have to dive into choppy waters to escape a fire? Well, hopefully you're wearing the Flotation Armor Torso System (FATS) from BCB International. Not only does this vest protect you from bullets, it self-inflates to serve as a life vest.
Mention military exoskeletons
and it will likely conjure up visions of something like Iron Man, that
gives a soldier super strength or the ability to march all day with a
pack the size of a piano. However, exoskeletons can provide more than
brute strength. Taking a page from therapy exoskeletons,
Dan Baechle, a mechanical engineer at the US Army Research Laboratory
(ARL), is developing the MAXFAS exoskeleton that doesn't make soldiers
stronger, but better shots instead.
A high-power laser weapon light enough to be carried by tactical aircraft has moved out of the laboratory and onto the testing ground. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems' High-Energy Liquid Laser Defense System (HELLADS) has finished its US Government Acceptance Test Procedure and is on its way to the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico for live-fire tests.
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.
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.
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.
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.