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Military

If you hunt unexploded sea mines for a living, then you might not mind losing your job to a robot. That seems to be the reasoning of the British and French governments, as they embark on a joint venture to develop a prototype autonomous system for detecting and neutralizing sea mines and UnderWater Improvised Explosive Devices (UWIED). Read More
Modern warfare is a constant arms race of measures and countermeasures, but with development cycles taking decades and costing billions of dollars, it's not uncommon for military technology to become obsolete by the time it's deployed. To address this dilemma, DARPA's System of Systems (SoS) Integration Technology and Experimentation (SoSITE) program aims at replacing monolithic weapon systems with a more flexible cross-platform approach. Read More
Deep sea diving is more than just slapping on an air tank and jumping in the water. It's a complex operation where the diver is the sharp end of a long, complex logistical train. It's also incredibly wasteful when it comes to the helium/oxygen gas mixture that the divers breathe, so US Navy scientists at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City have developed a new prototype deep-diving system that goes easy on the helium. Read More
While the Iran-Iraq war of 1981-1988 saw the only large-scale use of chemical weapons since WWII, in a world beset by rogue states, civil wars, and terrorism, protecting against nerve agents and disposing of them remains a major problem. One bright spot is a team from Northwestern University, which has developed a new material capable of neutralizing nerve gases. The zirconium-based Metal-Organic Framework (MOF) called NU-1000 is not only useful for disposing of stockpiles of such toxins, but also for use in gas masks and protective suits for soldiers and rescue workers. Read More

You know you're having a bad day when you wish you had a bulletproof laptop bag – as in proof against actual bullets. The Savior Multi-Threat Shield laptop bag unfolds into a shield that can stop a .44 Magnum round. Read More

The battlefield of the future recently came a step closer, as a Lockheed Martin laser weapon took out a truck in a field test. The 30-kW fiber laser weapon system was fired at a small truck mounted on a test platform, the laser beam disabled the running engine and drivetrain within seconds. Read More
Boeing and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) have carried out tests of the Joint Direct Attack Munition Extended Range (JDAM-ER), which showed a three-times increase in range while maintaining accuracy. The add-on guidance kit for bombs was put through its paces at Australia's Woomera Test Range, where the 500-lb (227 kg) ordnance was dropped by RAAF F/A-18 Classic Hornets from altitudes ranging from 40,000 ft (12,190 m) down to 10,000 ft (3,048 m). Read More
Looking every bit like a weapon from a science fiction movie, the latest integrated assault rifle prototype being developed for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is packed with some very smart weapons technology. Along with the ability to fire new lightweight telescoped ammunition, and a secondary effects module that adds either a three-round 40 mm grenade launcher or a 12-gauge shotgun, there is also a NATO-standard power and data bus to allow the attachment of smart accessories, such as electro-optical sights and position sensors that connect to command and control networks. Read More
We've seen scientists examine everything from the structure of sea sponges to the clubbing ability of mantis shrimps in the search for next generation lightweight armor systems. Researchers at Northeastern University’s College of Engineering believe that fish scales could hold the key to creating armor that's both impervious and lightweight. They eventually aim to combine the properties of fish, snake and butterfly scales into a single protective armor system. Read More
While ground vehicles, aircraft and ships have benefitted from numerous technological innovations over the years, not nearly as much has changed for foot soldiers. DARPA’s Squad X Core Technologies (SXCT) program, for which the agency is now seeking proposals, aims to tackle this by providing infantry squads with digitized, integrated technologies that improve their awareness, precision and influence. Read More
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