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Bombs

A new system that utilizes laser light to detect the presence of explosive compounds could...

Approximately sixty percent of coalition soldier deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are due to improvised explosive devices (IEDs), placed along the roads. Because these bombs are often planted in public areas, it is important to detect them in a way that doesn’t harm the surrounding infrastructure, or unnecessarily require civilians to evacuate nearby buildings. Researchers from Michigan State University believe that a laser-based system that they developed could fit the bill.  Read More

The SUBITO system is intended to detect unattended baggage, and track down its owner

We’ve told you before about CCTV programs that can identify criminal behavior, or that skip through footage where nothing’s happening. Now, a consortium of ten organizations from six European countries is working on another concept involving video monitoring of public spaces. It’s called the SUBITO project, for Surveillance of Unattended Baggage and the Identification and Tracking of the Owner, and it’s intended to do pretty much what the name suggests. Installed in existing security camera systems at places such as airports or train stations, the software will identify baggage that has been left unattended, and that could therefore possibly contain an explosive device. It will then search back to identify the person who deposited that baggage, then follow them forward through various cameras to establish their present location.  Read More

The tubular steel 'space frame' of the Ultra II is welded together

Casualties in Iraq from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) have dropped as the number of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles has increased, but with roadside bombs still responsible for the majority of casualties to coalition forces in Afghanistan, there is a need for a smaller, more nimble version more suited to its rugged, mountainous terrain. A new concept that would see military vehicles built around a protected personnel compartment and use a sacrificial “blast wedge” to absorb energy could improve safety for the occupants of future light armored patrol vehicles.  Read More

Nanoscale silver particles help trace even the smallest amounts of bomb-making chemicals a...

Sensors that quickly detect chemicals used to make bombs are being developed by scientists at Queen’s University, Belfast. The devices will use special gel pads to "swipe" a person or crime scene to gather a sample which is then analyzed by a scanning instrument that can detect the presence of chemicals within seconds, much quicker than current analysis methods. This will allow better, faster decisions to be made in response to terrorist threats. The team is also working on devices that detect illegal drugs and will hopefully be deployed by police as roadside drug "breathalyzers".  Read More

The thermal effects of the 'Little Boy' nuclear bomb if it was dropped on New York City.

Not that it's particularly likely, but as long as nuclear bombs exist, there's the chance - however slim - that one might go off somewhere near you. This little Google Maps overlay might be a bit morbid, but it's also pretty fascinating. It shows you the heat, pressure and fallout spread of a range of different nuclear bombs detonating anywhere in the world. It's particularly sobering to get a sense of the scale of the devastation caused by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs in World War 2 - and then see how tiny those bombs are compared to the USSR's enormous Tsar Bomba, the biggest nuke ever detonated.  Read More

How to make a dumb bomb smarter

Boeing has begun delivering the first Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition (LJDAM) kits to the U.S. Air Force. The Precision Laser Guidance Set (PLGS) kits have been created inside just 11 months to satisfy the Air Force and Navy's urgent need for weapons capable of engaging fast-moving land targets. The US$47,000 PLGS gives a JDAM with a 500 pound warhead the ability to hit a target travelling at up to 70 mph. It’s quite an amazing piece of engineering because the PLGS kit goes in the nose, and the US$22,000 JDAM kit fits to the tail of what was once a very dumb bomb. The JDAM kit offers both GPS and inertial navigation, and the PLGS adds laser, meaning it only takes US$67,000 to make a dumb bomb much smarter.  Read More

Splinternet debuts Dirty Bomb detector network

April 2, 2008 Splinternet Holdings is introducing a new "dirty bomb" detection system that manages a network of solid state GammaTect radiation sensors which send real-time notifications to command centers as soon as the presence of threat-level gamma rays is detected.  Read More

The USA's Massive Ordnance Penetrator, pictured here, is no match for the latest Russian e...

September 18, 2007 Russia has just announced the completion of successful testing of what it dubs the “Father of All Bombs” – four times more powerful than the USA’s comparatively placid “Mother of All Bombs". Both devices are viewed - somewhat dubiously - as “environmentally friendly” alternatives to nuclear devices, as they leave no radioactive fallout.  Read More

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