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Military

Empa's air-conditioned bulletproof vest

When most of us realize that we’re overdressed for the weather, we can simply take off that extra jacket or whatnot that’s causing us to overheat. Police officers, however, don’t have the option of taking off their bulletproof vests ... and those vests aren’t exactly known for being lightweight and breathable. Fortunately, a team from Swiss research institution Empa has developed just the thing for those hot cops – an air-conditioned ballistic vest.  Read More

The Gamma laser was tested against the skin and components of a BQM-7 drone

Practical laser weapons came another step closer to reality recently as defense contractor Northrop Grumman tested the latest version of its Firestrike solid-state lasers. On May 1st, the company announced that it had completed trials at its Redondo Beach laboratory of a more powerful and rugged generation of its slab lasers, that combine with improved sensor capacities to create a general laser component that can provide the military with a wide range of greatly enhanced defensive and offensive laser capabilities.  Read More

The Pistola con Caricato is a three-barreled revolver with 18 chambers in 6.35 x 16 mm sem...

A host of unusual firearms have been floated and (mostly) abandoned over the two centuries of largely trial-and-error design. After our recent coverage of Arsenal Firearm's AF2011-a1 double barrel semiautomatic pistol, we wondered if more extreme versions of multi-barrel repeating handguns existed. The outlandish Pistola con Caricato three-barreled revolver is a definite candidate.  Read More

To put the size of the Shadow Hawk air-glide armament in perspective, the RQ-7 is just 11....

Lockheed Martin's new Shadow Hawk weapon is deceptively small considering the influence it will likely have on warfare from this point forward. The era of unmanned warfare is about to go to a whole new level. The Shadow Hawk is an 11-pound class, 2.75-inch (7 cm) diameter, 27-inch (68 cm) long drop-glide munition released a mile or more above the target by the equally diminutive unmanned RQ-7B. It may not seem like a major leap forward in weapons technology but it most certainly is, because the Shadow Hawk munition now arms an entire fleet of RQ-7s for the US Marines and Army that could previously only be used for reconnaissance, and it does so with a much smaller and cheaper weapon.  Read More

Innovega's dual-focus contact lenses allow the wearer to focus near and far at the same ti...

The iOptik display system, consisting of modified contact lenses and glasses, promises to revolutionize head-mounted display-based augmented reality by allowing the wearer to focus on two planes at the same time. Innovega, the company behind the project, developed their ultra-small form-factor head-up display (HUD) setup in frames of DARPA’s Soldier Centric Imaging via Computational Cameras (SCENICC) program, and has now signed a contract with the agency to deliver a prototype.  Read More

A North Korean Unha rocket reportedly carrying a weather satellite exploded 80 seconds aft...

North Korea confirmed the failure of its rocket (or missile, depending on your interpretation) which launched at 7:39 this morning, local time. The United States, South Korea and Japan all reported that the rocket broke up shortly after launch.  Read More

The Northrop Grumman RQ-8A Fire Scout UAV helicopter is the test platform for the MMSS (Im...

Piracy on the high seas of the 21st century requires 21st century solutions. As part of the on-going effort to curb attacks on shipping, the United States Navy will use a UAV helicopter to test a new sensor system in the waters off California during the summer of 2012. This new 3D sensor package in combination with new computer algorithms will allow the Navy to more accurately identify pirate vessels hiding among innocent shipping on the sea lanes with much greater speed and much less manpower.  Read More

The nanomaterial-based unmanned Piranha USV boat is now a reality, and threatens to redefi...

You've heard of UAVs, unmanned remote controlled military aircraft; but what about USVs? Standing for Unmanned Surface Vehicle, a USV is quite simply an unmanned boat, like Zyvex Marine's Piranha concept. We've looked at USVs before, and the Piranha specifically in early 2010; but what was then a prototype under development is now a fully-fledged production craft, having shipped its first unit last November. "Our production facility is closer to rocket science than traditional boat building," says Zyvex Marine VP Byron Nutley of his boat - the only one in the world, it's claimed, that is made out of nanomaterials. But does the Piranha have the technological bite to match the hyperbole, and what does this mean for naval warfare?  Read More

A General Atomics MQ-9 (aka Predator B, Reaper or Guardian) UAV drone's flight duration co...

Nuclear-powered unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that would increase operational flight durations from days to months are a technological possibility today, according to a feasibility study undertaken last year by Sandia National Laboratories and Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation. A nuclear power supply would additionally double the availability of electrical power to onboard systems, including weaponry, the study found.  Read More

One full payload from the AF2011-A1 can deliver in three seconds what would take a regular...

It's been a popular design for shotguns for over a century, so why not handguns? With a design that looks like two guns were melted together, the new handgun from Arsenal Firearms is definitely a handful. Thanks to the gun's dual barrels though, the AF2011-A1 Double Barrel Pistol is capable of firing 16 rounds in a span of three seconds by shooting two bullets at the same time.  Read More

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