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Weapons

It sounds like an old Goon Show joke, but soldiers may one day protect themselves from blasts by wallpapering temporary shelters. It may not be very decorative, but the new ballistic wallpaper under development by the US Army Corps of Engineers uses a special fiber inlay to help prevent walls from collapsing under blast effects.

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In military parlance, the job of a soldier is to find, fix, and finish the enemy. However, this is a bit difficult when the soldier has to fumble with different scopes while keeping eyes on the target. To simplify things, BAE Systems is developing a combination night vision and thermal imaging system that not only allows soldiers to rapidly acquire and engage targets in all weather and lighting, but also to remotely aim their weapons without looking through the sights.

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We wrote about the new high-tech gladiator sport of UWM yesterday – but to steal a phrase, writing about martial arts fighting is like dancing about architecture. To appreciate this sport you need to see it in action. So here's your chance. This two minute video will give you a good idea of what UWM combat will feel like to watch ... and Loz Blain is ready to enter the first tournament in 2016. Read More
Two expert martial artists, clad head to toe in high-tech articulated armor, going at each other full force with ancient and modern weapons. Staff against nunchuk, Kendo against Kali – the flag drops, the bullshit stops. An all-out, to-the-virtual-death contest to decide who is the greatest weapons martial artist in the world, and which fighting styles are more flash and form than function. That's the concept behind Unified Weapons Master, a futuristic new gladiator sport being developed out of Sydney, Australia. It's the first fighting sport that will be able to give its fighters a virtual health bar to show how much damage they'd be taking if they weren't in armor. 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
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
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
A team from the UK's Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC) has used neutron diffraction techniques to study the composition of a 200 year old Indian shamsheer sword. The non-destructive study, which revealed details of how the weapon was constructed, would not have previously been possible due to the rarity of the object. 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
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