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Military

Under-Secretary of State for Defence, Derek Twigg MP, paid a visit to East Anglia to highl...

June 28, 2007 Northrop Grumman demonstrated its CUTLASS unmanned explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) vehicle to the U.K. Under-Secretary of State for Defence last week. The CUTLASS system offers the latest technology in a modular design, enabling the user to deal with the full range of both military and improvised explosive devices. Its highly versatile design means that it is capable of accommodating a wide range of payloads, sensors and tools. The manipulator arm is equipped with a state-of-the-art gripper and has nine degrees of freedom for greater movement and agility inside limited spaces, such as the interior of a car. The robot is able to creep along at deliberately slow speeds for delicate operations and may accelerate to high speeds to enable rapid travel. The six-wheeled design offers mobility on all types of hard and soft terrain and in all weather conditions.  Read More

XREP utilizes a shotgun platform

June 27, 2007 TASER is set to introduce the latest addition to its range of non-lethal weapons next month. The new Extended Range Electronic Projectile (XREP) is launched from a standard 12-gauge shotgun platform and is the first wireless TASER device. Now well established in the market, TASER stun guns are widely used in law enforcement, military and more recently, consumer applications. Along the way the company has become embroiled in a string of court cases relating to injuries or deaths which were claimed to be caused by the device and has released a special white paper on the topic ahead of the XERP launch. Though we cannot think of a situation where it would not be preferable to respond with non-lethal force rather than lethal force, it seems people still wish to take on TASER legally - so far the scoreline reads 51-0.  Read More

LANdroids - self-organizing, self-healing communications network for urban warfare

June 25, 2007 Modern warfare is increasingly urban - when you're fighting small groups of anonymous guerrilla insurgents there's no pitched battlefields and American forces are finding that their radio communications are suffering in these Non-Line-Of-Sight environments. The solution? Squadrons of smart communications robots, or LANdroids, each the size of a deck of cards, that can be scattered through an urban environment to create a self-organizing mesh radio network. Each unit constantly repositions itself for maximal signal strength, and if a LANdroid is destroyed, the rest of the units will reposition themselves to restore communications.  Read More

Advanced Gun Systems aboard the Zumwalt Class Destroyer

June 21, 2007 The role of the Navy has changed with the U.S. "War on Terror" - it is seldom involved in direct naval battles and much more often relegated to support of invading (liberating?) land and air forces. Thus, munitions are being designed to suit. BAE Systems' Advanced Gun Systems (AGS) are currently under construction and will redefine the state of the art for naval firepower. The vertically loaded, pivoting gun towers will launch 155mm standard and guided munitions to a range of approximately 100 miles, with accuracy between 20 and 50 metres and at a rate of up to 12 rounds per minute.  Read More

The small pod containing Northrop Grumman's laser Directional Infrared Countermeasures (DI...

June 19, 2007 We’ve all seen the scenario many times in films – a heat-seeking missile is launched towards a helicopter and relentlessly pursues its prey to destruction. Now it appears that there’s a removable laser Directional Infrared Countermeasures (DIRCM) System which can defeat such threats. The system was tested for the first time recently and successfully thwarted a series of simulated heat-seeking missile attacks on a Dutch AH-64D Apache helicopter during flight trials at Vliehors Test Range in the Netherlands. The small pod containing Northrop Grumman's laser Directional Infrared Countermeasures (DIRCM) system mounts to the end of the stub-wing on the Apache AH-64D attack helicopter. The system functions by automatically detecting a missile launch, determining if it is a threat and activating a high-intensity laser-based countermeasure system to track and defeat the missile.  Read More

The Sky Warrior, from General Atomics

June 18, 2007 Resurrecting a great name from the 1950s, General Atomics have completed the maiden flight of their Sky Warrior Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). While the original, built by Douglas, was known for being the largest and heaviest "whale" of a bomber to take-off and land on aircraft carriers, the new Sky Warrior will operate as an unmanned long range surveillance, communications and weapons delivery drone. Able to run happily on diesel or jet fuel due to its Heavy Fuel Engine, the Sky Warrior will form a key part of the U.S. Army's Extended Range/Multi Purpose Unmanned Aircraft system.  Read More

Polarisation technology shows up the hidden trip wires in the image.

June 4, 2007 Silent, unmoving, millimetre-thin and extremely difficult to see, trip and command wires are frequently found on land mines, conventional munitions and many improvised explosive devices (IEDs). In a bid to increase troop and civilian safety in war zones, defense contractor QinetiQ has been given a UK£800,000 contract to produce and evaluate portable tripwire detection devices based on polarization technology that's showing positive results.  Read More

TASER and iRobot are collaborating on a TASER-shooting robot

June 3, 2007 Love them or hate them, TASER stun guns have become an essential and effective part of law enforcement armory. Perhaps their main drawback has been that even the long-range wireless shotgun-mounted TASER XREP puts a police officer within 30 feet of a potentially dangerous suspect before they're in range. Now, a new partnership between TASER and iRobot will see the construction of TASER-wielding robots that can be sent in to incapacitate violent suspects without ever exposing police officers to the risk of harm. What's more, TASER has released their Remote Area Denial (TRAD) system, an unmanned device that operates in a network to identify and incapacitate intruders in secured areas. It all points towards an interesting future with embedded moral implications; how long will it be until suspects are told "you have 15 seconds to comply?"  Read More

U.S. Defense report nervous on Chinese military capability

May 31, 2007 A new report from the US department of defense has raised concerns about China's growing military power, particularly in regard to cyber-warfare preparations and an expanding counter-space program. The report to congress entitled "Military Power of the People’s Republic of China" asserts that whilst Beijing continues to focus its military preparedness on the Taiwan Straits, it appears to be shifting its attention to arenas that may pose a greater threat to the rest of the world.  Read More

High altitude launch capability demonstrated for MK-54 torpedos

May 30, 2007 If there’s an absolute truth about military technology, it’s that it keeps getting more deadly with each passing year and the High Altitude ASW Weapons Concept (HAAWC) is a prime example. HAAWC employs the Lockheed Martin LongShot Wing Adapter Kit to allow the launch of torpedoes from high altitudes and long standoff ranges, allowing aircrews to remain beyond the reach of enemy air defences. Additionally, the manoeuvrability of the concept allows for off-axis launch of torpedoes at potential undersea targets preventing the need for the aircraft to manoeuvre.  Read More

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