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Weapons

The 84 mm Carl-Gustaf recoilless, multi-role, man-portable weapon (Images: SAAB)

In the world of military technology, new weapon capabilities quickly supersede the old. With the United States expenditure for the 2009 fiscal year at US$515.4 billion, it's rare to find a very old weapon still cutting it with the best on the battlefield, but the Carl Gustav recoilless rifle (CG) has proved the exception to this rule. First produced in 1946, the Carl Gustav remains in widespread use today.  Read More

HPM bombsuse an enormous electromagnetic radio pulse to disable computers, electronics, ve...

High-power microwave (HPM) bombs that use an enormous electromagnetic radio pulse to disable computers, electronics, vehicles, guided missiles and communications while leaving people and structures unharmed have been under investigation in research labs for a number of years. Until recently these weapons have been impractically large at over 3.5 meters long, but researchers at Texas Tech University have now built a self powered device with U.S. Army funding that measures 15 cm in diameter and only 1.5 meters long, making it small enough to be considered portable.  Read More

The guided-missile destroyer USS Higgins (Credit:  U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication S...

Naval mine strikes are cited as the root cause of almost 4/5ths of U.S. Navy ship casualties occurring since 1950, so any device that either detects mines or cloaks the ship to avoid detonation will aid in the reduction of these alarming statistics. This new technology developed by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) consists of a high temperature superconducting (HTS) degaussing coil which acts to form a cloaking device which eliminates the magnetic signature of the ship. This interferes with undersea mines' ability to detect and detonate when a large magnetic field – like the one created by a ship – comes within close proximity.  Read More

Boeing to develop Free Electron Laser for US Navy
 (Photo: Frank Buck/Boeing)

Boeing has won a U.S. Navy contract worth up to $163 million to develop the Free Electron Laser (FEL), a weapon system that the company says "will transform naval warfare in the next decade by providing an ultra-precise, speed-of-light capability and unlimited magazine depth to defend ships against new, challenging threats, such as hyper-velocity cruise missiles." The envisioned level of precision would enable U.S. Navy ships to deliver nonlethal or lethal force to targets with power and minimal collateral damage.  Read More

Reports of a new anti-ship ballistic missile suggest it is capable of targeting aircraft c...

After years of speculation, details are beginning to emerge of a "kill weapon" developed by the Chinese that is capable of targeting and destroying US aircraft carriers. The Dong Feng 21 anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) can carry a warhead big enough to inflict significant damage on a large naval vessel, such as a supercarrier, with a single strike. The missile employs a complex guidance system, using low radar signature and a maneuverability that makes its flight path unpredictable. This increases the odds that the missile can evade tracking systems to successfully reach its target. It is estimated that the missile can travel at mach 10 speed and reach its maximum range of 2,000km in less than 12 minutes.  Read More

The Long Range Acoustic Device

When Somali pirates armed with RPGs attacked the luxury cruise ship Seaborn Spirit in November 2005 it wasn't armed troops or the threat of artillery that deterred the attack, it was sound waves. The ship was fitted with a clever bit of tech called the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), a system which can emit painfully loud sound frequencies that are concentrated in a narrow beam and easily direct them at a target, not unlike using a spotlight. LRAD was originally developed for enforcing safe zones around US military vessel, but as Gizmag's David Greig learns, the potential applications of the sometimes controversial technology go well beyond protecting assets on the water.  Read More

The AA-12 combat shotgun

Assault rifles are all well and good, but when you really need to tear a person to pieces, nothing fills the air with metal quite like a combat shotgun. And for those times when a regular combat shotgun isn't generating enough flying body parts, connoisseurs turn to what must be the most outrageously devastating hand-held anti-personnel murder machine in existence: the Atchisson Assault Shotgun, or AA-12. Fully automatic and drum-fed, the AA-12 fires five 12-gauge shotgun shells per second, with extreme reliability and so little recoil that strong men can shoot it Arnie-style with one hand. And if that hail of hot buckshot isn't enough to make both shooter and target need a change of underpants, consider this: it has been developed in conjunction with the FRAG-12 - a new type of shotgun cartridge in which each round is a small, flighted high explosive or fragmentation grenade accurate up to 175 metres.  Read More

Boeing F-15SE

The Boeing Company has unveiled the F-15 Silent Eagle (F-15SE), a new F-15 configuration designed with a range of improvements over the previous F-15 variants including improved stealth coatings, redesigned conformal fuel tanks, a canted vertical tail to improve aerodynamic efficiency and much more. The prototype will be ready for its first test flight in early 2010.  Read More

Bullseye!
 Pic credit: Intellectual Ventures

March 18, 2009 Mosquitoes have plagued mankind since time immemorial. For many they’re just annoying pests that leave an itchy reminder of their bloodsucking ways, but for much of the world’s population they’re carriers of deadly disease – malaria in particular. So far man’s efforts to combat mosquitoes have so far proved fruitless but the Wall Street Journal is reporting that researchers in the US are looking to take the battle into the space age by using lasers to kill the nasty little buggers.  Read More

Artist's rendering showing a NIF target pellet inside a hohlraum capsule with laser beams ...

Lasers, is there anything they can’t do? If they’re not shooting down UAVs, they’re fighting AIDS or bringing us the next generation of HDTVs. That’s all well and good, but when it comes to lasers there’s none bigger than the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California - an instrument capable of delivering 500 trillion watts of power in a 20-nanosecond burst which is now nearing completion. Its myriad uses will include providing fusion data for nuclear weapons simulations, probing the secrets of extrasolar planets and could even lead to the holy grail of energy production - practical fusion energy.  Read More

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