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Weapons

Detonation of a laser-guided warhead on an armored personnel carrier (Photo: Eglin AFB 780...

The advent of unmanned combat vehicles is generating a need for smaller weapon systems to fit their reduced dimensions. As a result, more powerful explosives are being sought to get the most performance from smaller warheads. Introduction of new explosives is a rather slow process, as premature detonation of an explosive is extremely embarrassing. The desire for higher-performance explosives persists, though, so explosive chemists get used to dancing along the edge of instability. Fortunately, new chemistry occasionally appears that pushes the edge back a bit. The recent synthesis of a stable, high-performance explosive by a research team at the University of Michigan indicates that such new chemistry is now at hand.  Read More

Boeing's Joint Direct Attack Munition-Extended Range (JDAM-ER) precision bomb kit (Image: ...

Boeing has completed the first round of tests of the latest variant of its precision bomb kit, the Joint Direct Attack Munition-Extended Range (JDAM-ER). Developed in partnership with the Australian government, the winged bomb kit finished its first wind tunnel tests in the United States and is one step closer to production and entering service with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).  Read More

The Gauss Rifle, a homebuilt four-stage coilgun

Well, Patrick Priebe might have outdone himself with this one. In the past, the German cyberpunk weapons-maker has brought us such creations as a wrist-mounted mini-crossbow, a laser-sighted rotary-saw-blade-shooting crossbow, and a flame-throwing glove. His latest nasty futuristic device? A video game-inspired electromagnetic weapon, called the Gauss Rifle.  Read More

The Boston Subway (Photo: DanTD)

Over the next six months, the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate is releasing a harmless bacterium into the underground train system as part of its “Detect to Protect” program. It’s purpose isn’t to frighten commuters, but to test sensors designed to detect biological weapon attacks.  Read More

Artists concept of the X-51A (Image: US Air Force)

Wright Patterson AFB has confirmed in an official press release that Tuesday’s test of the Waverider X-51A unmanned hypersonic missile has failed. Launched from a B-52 bomber over Point Mugu Naval Air Warfare Center Sea Range at 11:36 AM PST, the separation from the bomber and ignition of the X-51A’s rocket booster went as planned. However, 16 seconds into the flight a fault occurred in one of the missile’s control fins before the scramjet could start and the X-51A was today officially reported as "lost." At present, there are no further official details, but the New York Daily News reports that the missile crashed into the Pacific Ocean while NBC News states that the X-51A broke up in flight and fell into the ocean "in pieces."  Read More

Lorenzo Maggiore with his Bug-A-Salt pump action gun that finishes bugs off with a pinch o...

We recently took a look at the InaTrap insect trap that lures insects into its designer-inspired form to quietly and efficiently send them to an early grave. But if you’re looking for something slightly more badass that provides a greater sense of satisfaction when taking out those pesky bugs then it’s hard to go past the Bug-A-Salt. The brainchild of Santa Monica-based artist Lorenzo Maggiore, the Bug-A-Salt is a pump action gun that takes out pests in a blast of non-toxic table salt.  Read More

The DARPA competition aims to replace traditional development processes with crowdsourcing

The U.S. Defense Department think tank DARPA is offering up to US$30 million in prize money as part of a competition to introduce crowdsourcing to heavy weapons development and manufacturing. By adopting the”democratized” strategy of crowdsourcing for the development of the Fast, Adaptable Next-Generation armored vehicle (FANG), DARPA hopes to speed up the design and manufacturing of such weapons while reducing costs and introducing greater design flexibility.  Read More

The Caelus scout missile

Missile systems specialist MBDA unveiled a new conceptual UAV missile system at Farnborough Airshow this week. MBDA hopes that by soon after 2030, the CVS301 Vigilus could extend the strike capabilities of unmanned UAV drones by using scout missiles in hostile territory, allowing carrier UAVs to maintain a safe distance.  Read More

Rob Flickenger has created a fully functional, battery-operated Tesla Gun of the kind used...

If you listen to your elders, electricity is a dangerous, often fatal, medium that shouldn't be toyed with. If, like Rob Flickenger, you decide to completely ignore such sage counsel, then electricity is awesome and a whole bunch of fun – especially if you build yourself a working battery-powered Tesla Gun that handles some 20,000-volts and 2,000 amps of current and shoots out bolts of lightning!  Read More

The Gamma laser was tested against the skin and components of a BQM-7 drone

Practical laser weapons came another step closer to reality recently as defense contractor Northrop Grumman tested the latest version of its Firestrike solid-state lasers. On May 1st, the company announced that it had completed trials at its Redondo Beach laboratory of a more powerful and rugged generation of its slab lasers, that combine with improved sensor capacities to create a general laser component that can provide the military with a wide range of greatly enhanced defensive and offensive laser capabilities.  Read More

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