Highlights from Interbike 2014

Military

Artist's impression of the CHAMP missile

This week, science fiction became science fact as a Boeing CHAMP missile knocked out a building full of electronics in the Utah desert at Hill Air Force Base. There was no explosion and no flying shrapnel. There was only the sound of the missile’s engine as it flew overhead and the sputtering of sophisticated computers crashing as they were hit by a beam of high-energy microwaves.  Read More

Prototype laser eye-protection spectacles (Image: Crown Copyright/MoD)

Laser pointers may be great fun to tease the cat with, but for pilots they are a major hazard. The United States FAA reports over 2,000 incidents every year of planes having lasers pointed at them - some of them powerful enough to pop a balloon. To combat the danger that lasers pose to aviation, the U.K. Ministry of Defence (MoD) is developing new eye wear that can filter out a wide range of laser wavelengths.  Read More

General Atomics' electromagnetic railgun prototype

Back in February, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) test-fired a prototype electromagnetic railgun that had been built by BAE Systems for the U.S. Navy. BAE isn’t the only game in town, however – this Tuesday, ONR announced that it is now evaluating a second railgun prototype, made by San Diego-based General Atomics.  Read More

The High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD) that will incorporate a 10-kilowatt sol...

With the solid-state high-energy lasers already being tested on the sea and in the air, Boeing is continuing development of a truck-mounted system. The system is similar in concept to Boeing’s Laser Avenger that is intended for combating unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), but boasts a more powerful laser for countering a wider variety of threats, including rockets, artillery, mortars, as well as UAVs.  Read More

DARPA is now accepting registrations for the first of its FANG challenges

Earlier this year, DARPA revealed it was embracing the crowdsourcing model to develop a new amphibious infantry vehicle known as the FANG (Fast, Adaptable, Next-Generation Ground Vehicle). Now designers and engineers with expertise in drivetrain and mobility systems who wouldn’t mind an extra US$1 million lining their pockets can express their interest with DARPA now opening registrations for the first of three planned challenges that will kick off in January 2013.  Read More

The Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System (CT2WS) uses an EEG cap to detect the opera...

A new Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) project crosses the line between man and machine, with a threat detection system that uses “mind reading.” No, the Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System (CT2WS) doesn’t pick up the thoughts of approaching baddies. Instead, it uses a combination of a digital imaging system, computer algorithms and an electroencephalogram (EEG) to help observers scan areas for threats with much greater accuracy by making them aware of things that they’ve seen, but aren’t consciously aware of.  Read More

Detonation of a laser-guided warhead on an armored personnel carrier (Photo: Eglin AFB 780...

The advent of unmanned combat vehicles is generating a need for smaller weapon systems to fit their reduced dimensions. As a result, more powerful explosives are being sought to get the most performance from smaller warheads. Introduction of new explosives is a rather slow process, as premature detonation of an explosive is extremely embarrassing. The desire for higher-performance explosives persists, though, so explosive chemists get used to dancing along the edge of instability. Fortunately, new chemistry occasionally appears that pushes the edge back a bit. The recent synthesis of a stable, high-performance explosive by a research team at the University of Michigan indicates that such new chemistry is now at hand.  Read More

Boeing's Joint Direct Attack Munition-Extended Range (JDAM-ER) precision bomb kit (Image: ...

Boeing has completed the first round of tests of the latest variant of its precision bomb kit, the Joint Direct Attack Munition-Extended Range (JDAM-ER). Developed in partnership with the Australian government, the winged bomb kit finished its first wind tunnel tests in the United States and is one step closer to production and entering service with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).  Read More

Raytheon's small tactical munition demonstrates precision targeting and stand-off capabili...

Raytheon's new Pyros small tactical munition has passed an end-to-end live test with flying colors. The Pyros glide bomb, which is the smallest air-launched weapon in Raytheon's portfolio, was dropped from a Cobra unmanned air vehicle (UAV) to demonstrate its semi-active laser and GPS guidance modes, its height-of-burst sensor for standoff detonation above a target, its electronic safe and arm device, and the new five pound NammoTalley multi-effects warhead.  Read More

DARPA's one-fifth scale prototype of the Captive Air Amphibious Transporter - walks on lan...

So the year is 2015, and you're in a serious disaster – one that requires the immediate provision of food, water, medical care, and shelter for a hundred thousand people. In other words, not something that a few airlifts will handle. If there is navigable water anywhere nearby, you could be saved by a future version of one of DARPA's new toys: the Captive Air Amphibious Transporter (CAAT).  Read More

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