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Military

The newly-developed nanocrystalline spinel could lead to enhanced protection for personnel...

A team of experts at the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has developed a new way of fabricating spinel, an armor material used in the windows of military vehicles, demonstrating that the strength of transparent ceramics could be dramatically improved. The nanocrystalline spinel is 50 percent harder than the spinel currently used in armored vehicles and could result in enhanced protection for personnel.  Read More

Artist's concept of a ship equipped with a railgun turret (Image: US Navy)

Watching old war movies, we expect firing a navy gun to be accompanied by a deafening bang and a dramatic cloud of burnt powder. This being the 21st century, the US Navy has other ideas as it prepares to install and test a prototype electromagnetic railgun on a Spearhead-class joint high speed vessel in 2016 as part of a program to develop the naval artillery of the future.  Read More

The Phantom Badger deploying from an Osprey

The US military fields some pretty impressive vehicles, but they aren't worth much if they don’t fit on the aircraft intended to transport them. Last month, the US Navy removed one obstacle when it cleared the Boeing Phantom Badger combat support vehicle for transport inside a V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. After a battery of tests, including form-fit checks, pressure tests and structural evaluations of over four G’s, the modular vehicle was a step closer to deployment by the US Marine Corps and US Air Force Special Operations.  Read More

DARPA plans to re-purpose RQ-7 Shadow UAVs to provide even the most remote US forces with ...

The Defence Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA) plans to extend connectivity for forward military units with the use of small Wi-Fi-hosting drones. The aim of the Mobile Hotspots project is to provide a reliable, mobile source of bandwidth to all echelons of the military on a scale unthinkable using current methods.  Read More

Porton Man is designed to test protective clothing for the MOD

The British Ministry of Defence has a new soldier that costs £1.1 million (US$1.8 million) and goes by the odd name of “Porton Man.” Based at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) in Porton Down, Wiltshire, Porton Man isn't your average squaddie. He’s a robotic mannequin designed to test suits and equipment for the British armed forces in order to help protect them against chemical and biological weapons.  Read More

The AT Black Knight Transformer during its first flight demonstrating a stable and control...

Following on from driving tests that wound up in December last year, the Black Knight Transformer prototype demonstrator has taken to the air for the first time. California-based Advanced Tactics, Inc., announced its vehicle, which combines the capabilities of a helicopter and an off-road vehicle, completed its first flight tests last month, being remotely piloted at an undisclosed location in Southern California.  Read More

Artist's impression of the live synthetic simulation system (image: US Army/Peggy Frierson...

Modern warfare is sometimes compared to a video game, but within ten years combat training may become the most realistic video game imaginable. The US Army’s Future Holistic Training Environment Live Synthetic program is a new approach to combat training that integrates various simulations into a single, remotely accessible system. Used on bases across the country, its goal is to provide the Pentagon with a cheaper, more effective way of training soldiers for future military operations.  Read More

DARPA's new Biological Technologies Office division aims to 'merge biology, engineering, a...

From robotics to optics and forgery prevention to solar cells, biomimicry has proven fertile ground for researchers. Recognizing nature's potential in the development of new technologies, DARPA has announced the establishment of the Biological Technologies Office (BTO), a new division that aims to "merge biology, engineering, and computer science to harness the power of natural systems for national security."  Read More

A British sniper in Afghanistan has used the Accuracy International L115A3 sniper rifle to...

In November 2009, the Accuracy International L115A3 sniper rifle was the weapon used in the most prodigious feat of marksmanship in military history – three consecutive strikes from 2.47 km in combat. Now a British sniper in Afghanistan has reportedly killed six insurgents with one bullet using the L115A3.  Read More

A team at Benét Labs is redesigning the 120-mm mortar system currently in use by the US Ar...

Mortars are one of the oldest forms of artillery, evolving from devices that fired stone projectiles a few hundred meters to become a mainstay of any modern army's arsenal. Benét Laboratories is continuing this evolution by tweaking the 120-mm mortar system currently used by the US Army to increase range, reduce weight, improve user safety and cut costs.  Read More

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