The advance of technology in the military is resulting in unexpected weaponry. From exoskeletons to insect cyborgs, militaries across the world are investing in innovative weapons designed to give them the upper hand in future conflicts. The following blog looks at four such weapons which could transform warfare in the near future.
1. Thunder Generator
The first entry on this list is a non-lethal weapon which uses shock waves to disarm targets. The ArmyTec Thunder Generator uses a combination of air, cooking gas and liquefied petroleum to create explosions, which are funnelled into a large resonant barrel and released as high-velocity shock waves. The shock waves are powerful enough to stun and temporarily deafen targets at 30 to 100 meters away, but can cause permanent damage or kill persons within 10 feet. The Thunder Generator was first used as a device to keep birds away from crops, and was quickly adopted as a tool for crowd dispersion by the Israeli military. A notable feature of the ArmyTec Thunder Generator is its curved barrel design, which allows users to fire around corners.
The exoskeleton robots market is set to grow at a CAGR of 50.85% over the next four years, with a large portion of this growth spurred on by military investments. Although this technology is still in its early days, projects like the Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC) from Lockheed Martin give us a good idea of how exoskeletons are set to innovate soldier capabilities. The HULC is fitted with a pair of mechanized titanium leg braces, enabling the wearer to carry up to 200 pounds for limitless periods of time without the risk of fatigue. The HULC is equipped with an on-board computer for movement monitoring, load levels and syncing the exoskeleton with the wearer’s movements.
3. Quantum Camouflage
Every modern military uses some form of optical camouflage, the pattern designs added to uniforms, weapons and vehicles to improve environmental concealment and reduce the risk of enemy detection. The problem with optical camouflage is the fact that is uses a fixed pattern that represents a specific environment, making it difficult to move through different environments without alerting the enemy. To combat this problem, militaries are researching into quantum camouflage, a high-tech material able to completely conceal wearers by bending light around them. The material mimics its surroundings, effectively making the wearer invisible to the naked eye once they stay still. Invisibility cloaks have long been a mainstay of science fiction and fantasy, but we should expect to see them (or not) in the real world within the next ten years.
4. Insect Cyborgs
A recent project from the United States’ Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) saw insect cyborgs implanted with electrical circuits during the pupal stage. When the insects reach adulthood, signals sent via radio waves can be used to trigger the electrical circuits, permitting users to essentially remote-control the insect’s movements. The insect can then be fitted with minute surveillance equipment, resulting in virtually undetectable exploration equipment perfect for reconnaissance missions.
The above are just a handful of radical new weapons which militaries are pursuing. Advances in technology are enabling militaries to think outside the box when it comes to new assault and defense techniques, facilitating innovative and highly imaginative weapons. As technology progresses, so will new weapon technology, leading to unconventional and experimental warfare which will hopefully result in fewer casualties.
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