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Military

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
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
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
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
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
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

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

According to the US Department of Defense, corrosion costs the Navy approximately US$7 billion every year. That's certainly an incentive for developing a method of keeping military vehicles from rusting. Now, researchers from the Office of Naval Research and The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory may be onto something. They're looking into the use a powder that could allow scratched or chipped paint to "heal like human skin." Read More
The best advice for surviving a nuclear bomb is to be somewhere else when it goes off. If that doesn't work out for you, though, a recent study carried out at the USDOE's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) provides some simple guidance for maximizing your chances of survival. Read More
Pizza with a three-year shelf life will soon be joining the US Army's field rations menu. These infamous MREs (Meal, Ready to Eat) have a long and checkered history, acquiring such sobriquets over the years as "Meals Rejected by Everyone" and "Materials Resembling Edibles." Pizza has long topped the list of requested meals, but the task of providing a palatable slice of this complex food that will survive the required three-year shelf life has foiled all attempts. Now, the folks at Natick's Combat Feeding Directorate have achieved a minor miracle in food technology: stopping time for a slice of pizza. Read More
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