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Porton Man is designed to test protective clothing for the MOD
The British Ministry of Defence has a new soldier that costs £1.1 million (US$1.8 million) and goes by the odd name of “Porton Man.” Based at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) in Porton Down, Wiltshire, Porton Man isn't your average squaddie. He’s a robotic mannequin designed to test suits and equipment for the British armed forces in order to help protect them against chemical and biological weapons.  Read More
The AT Black Knight Transformer during its first flight demonstrating a stable and control...
Following on from driving tests that wound up in December last year, the Black Knight Transformer prototype demonstrator has taken to the air for the first time. California-based Advanced Tactics, Inc., announced its vehicle, which combines the capabilities of a helicopter and an off-road vehicle, completed its first flight tests last month, being remotely piloted at an undisclosed location in Southern California.  Read More

US Army examining next-gen augmented reality "live synthetic" simulations

April 1, 2014
Artist's impression of the live synthetic simulation system (image: US Army/Peggy Frierson...
Modern warfare is sometimes compared to a video game, but within ten years combat training may become the most realistic video game imaginable. The US Army’s Future Holistic Training Environment Live Synthetic program is a new approach to combat training that integrates various simulations into a single, remotely accessible system. Used on bases across the country, its goal is to provide the Pentagon with a cheaper, more effective way of training soldiers for future military operations.  Read More
DARPA's new Biological Technologies Office division aims to 'merge biology, engineering, a...
From robotics to optics and forgery prevention to solar cells, biomimicry has proven fertile ground for researchers. Recognizing nature's potential in the development of new technologies, DARPA has announced the establishment of the Biological Technologies Office (BTO), a new division that aims to "merge biology, engineering, and computer science to harness the power of natural systems for national security."  Read More
A British sniper in Afghanistan has used the Accuracy International L115A3 sniper rifle to...
In November 2009, the Accuracy International L115A3 sniper rifle was the weapon used in the most prodigious feat of marksmanship in military history – three consecutive strikes from 2.47 km in combat. Now a British sniper in Afghanistan has reportedly killed six insurgents with one bullet using the L115A3.  Read More
A team at Benét Labs is redesigning the 120-mm mortar system currently in use by the US Ar...
Mortars are one of the oldest forms of artillery, evolving from devices that fired stone projectiles a few hundred meters to become a mainstay of any modern army's arsenal. Benét Laboratories is continuing this evolution by tweaking the 120-mm mortar system currently used by the US Army to increase range, reduce weight, improve user safety and cut costs.  Read More
The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle is one of the suggested recipients of the polyfibroblast ...
According to the US Department of Defense, corrosion costs the Navy approximately US$7 billion every year. That's certainly an incentive for developing a method of keeping military vehicles from rusting. Now, researchers from the Office of Naval Research and The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory may be onto something. They're looking into the use a powder that could allow scratched or chipped paint to "heal like human skin."  Read More
US Atomic Energy Commission 14 kT Bunker Charlie test - October 30, 1951 (Photo: USAEC)
The best advice for surviving a nuclear bomb is to be somewhere else when it goes off. If that doesn't work out for you, though, a recent study carried out at the USDOE's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) provides some simple guidance for maximizing your chances of survival.  Read More
The new MRE pizza being tried out by the troops (Photo: US Army)
Pizza with a three-year shelf life will soon be joining the US Army's field rations menu. These infamous MREs (Meal, Ready to Eat) have a long and checkered history, acquiring such sobriquets over the years as "Meals Rejected by Everyone" and "Materials Resembling Edibles." Pizza has long topped the list of requested meals, but the task of providing a palatable slice of this complex food that will survive the required three-year shelf life has foiled all attempts. Now, the folks at Natick's Combat Feeding Directorate have achieved a minor miracle in food technology: stopping time for a slice of pizza.  Read More
The SPARCS round round has a CMOS camera sending back real-time images to a computerized r...
Imagine a scenario where an earthquake brings down an industrial complex, trapping the survivors inside and as the disaster response team arrives, they unpack a grenade launcher and start lobbing rounds into the air. This may seem like madness, but there’s method in it. In this hypothetical case, the grenades are part of the Soldier Parachute Aerial Reconnaissance Camera System (SPARCS) built by Singapore-based ST Engineering. Instead of a warhead, each 40 mm grenade round has a CMOS camera sending back real-time images to a computerized receiver; turning disaster teams, police, and foot soldiers into recon units.  Read More
The Q-Warrior is designed provide foot soldiers with comprehensive situational awareness
"Great battles are won with artillery" – Napoleon Bonaparte. In the 21st century, he’d probably change that to information. The trick is to get that information to soldiers on the front line quickly and in a manner that won’t distract them from the job at hand. To this end, BAE Systems’ Electronic Systems has developed the Q-Warrior – a head-up display for foot soldiers that’s designed to provide a full-color, high resolution 3D display of the battlefield situation and assets.  Read More
The Taranis test flight was at an undisclosed location outside the UK
The UK's Ministry of Defence (MoD) and BAE Systems this week announced details of last year's first test flight of the Taranis unmanned combat demonstrator aircraft, which BAE bills as the "most advanced aircraft ever built by British engineers." The 15-minute test flight took place at an undisclosed location outside of the UK on August 10, 2013 as part of a project to show the UK’s ability to create a unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) capable of surveillance, targeting, intelligence gathering, deterrence, and strikes in hostile territory.  Read More

 
The DMZ separating North and South Korea is now being monitored by a Kinect sensor (Photo:...
Microsoft's Kinect sensor has provided the basis for a system now monitoring the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea, local news outlet Hankooki reports.  Read More
Lockheed Martin has demonstrated a new 30-kilowatt fiber laser (not pictured) produced by ...
In another step forward for laser weapons that brings to mind the Death Star's superlaser, Lockheed Martin has demonstrated a 30-kilowatt fiber laser produced by combining many lasers into a single beam of light. According to the company, this is the highest power laser yet that was still able to maintain beam quality and electrical efficiency, paving the way for a laser weapon system suitable, if not for a Death Star, for a wide range of air, land and sea military platforms.  Read More
The SaveOneLife system
Boot insoles can turn a pair of really uncomfortable brogues into podiatric clouds that can take a long hike and remove the foot ache. Now, Lemur Studio Design based in Bogota, Colombia, has come up with a concept for insoles that won’t just save your instep, but could save your life. A submission to the World Design Impact Prize 2013-2014 competition, SaveOneLife is a wearable mine detector that fits in a shoe and warns the wearer if and where a potentially deadly landmine might lurk nearby.  Read More
The AT Black Knight Transformer
When someone mentions flying cars it conjures up images of a sporty little number that takes to the air like something out of the Jetsons. But what about one that’s a cross between a 4x4, an octocopter, and a Blackhawk helicopter? That’s what Advanced Tactics of El Segundo, California is seeing with its ambitions to produce a roadable VTOL aircraft capable of unmanned autonomous operations as a more flexible way to recover casualties, move supplies, and support special forces.  Read More
The Pentagon looks at the next 25 years of military robots
Last month, the US Pentagon pulled out its crystal ball and released a report that presents a blueprint of what it sees as the future of military robots over the next quarter of a century. It projects likely developments in new unmanned technologies against a background of shrinking budgets and shifting strategic policies, and how the dramatic development and expansion of military unmanned systems requires large-scale consolidation and development to exploit the technology’s full potential.  Read More
Artist's concept of the Successor submarine (Image: Ministry of Defence)
As part of an update to Parliament on the progress of the Trident replacement program, Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has released a concept image of the Royal Navy’s next ballistic nuclear missile submarine. This coincides with the awarding of two contracts to BAE Systems Maritime-Submarines for £47 million (US$76 million) and £32 million (US$60 million) to begin preliminary design work on the nuclear-powered submarines, currently called the Successor class, which are intended to replace the Navy’s aging fleet of of Vanguard-class boats by 2028.  Read More
The HEL MD that took out mortars and UAVs in flight using its vehicle-mounted 10-kW laser ...
High energy laser weapons are a hot area of research with companies including Lockheed Martin, Rheinmetall and Northrop Grumman all developing systems. Boeing is also in the mix with its High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD), which is being put through its paces by the US Army. Between November 18 and December 10, the HEL MD successfully took out mortar rounds and UAVs in flight, marking a first for the vehicle-mounted system.  Read More
Sequence photo of the launch of the XFC (Photo: NAVSEA-AUTEC)
Today, the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) announced that it had successfully launched a drone from a submerged submarine. The all-electric eXperimental Fuel Cell Unmanned Aerial System (XFC) was launched in the Bahamas from the Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Providence (SSN 719) using a system that allowed the drone to be deployed without modifications to the boat, or requiring it to surface.  Read More
The Combat UE-1 vehicle is one design being explored through ArmyCoCreate.com
The US Army Rapid Equipping Force (REF) is experimenting with internet-based collaboration. With the help of the crowdsourcing gurus at Local Motors, it has launched ArmyCoCreate.com, a website designed to let soldiers, designers and engineers collaborate on identifying soldier requirements and designing prototypes to address them.  Read More
The upgrade allows the B-52 to carry 50 percent more smart weapons (Image: USAF)
The B-52 heavy bomber is a bit like the Queen of England – sometimes it seems as though both of them are going to go on forever. Last week, Boeing announced a new program to extend the life of the US Air Force B-52 fleet by expanding its capacity to carry smart weapons by 50 percent as part of a new US$24.6 million contract.  Read More

Not the TALOS combat suit (Photo: HarshLight)
The US Navy's top SEAL, four-star Admiral William McRaven, is pushing hard for a modern suit of armor called the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS). Though not exactly an Iron Man suit, it's that ballpark. As a result, a Broad Agency Announcement has now been issued seeking proposals and research in support of the design, construction, and testing of TALOS, with a basic version hopefully seeing service within three years.  Read More
The Hydra System is composed of several parts: the delivery system, shelters that may rest...
DARPA has floated a fascinating new unmanned systems project that would see undersea motherships launching smaller submarines and flying vehicles to conduct pop-up surveillance on pirates, terrorists and hijackers. The Hydra Project, named after the Greek legend of the multi-headed snake that grew two new heads whenever one was cut off, looks to provide low cost response to quickly changing situations on or near the water.  Read More
Field Deployable Hydrolysis System (FDHS) developed at the U.S. Army’s Edgewood Chemical a...
The US Department of Defense recently rolled out a system to rapidly deploy chemical weapons disposal facilities that could potentially be used quickly and effectively on foreign shores in the near future. The Field Deployable Hydrolysis System (FDHS) developed at the US Army's Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center in Maryland is a mobile system designed to destroy chemical warfare agents in bulk. The FDHS neutralizes chemical agents by mixing them with water and other reagents like sodium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite and then heating them to produce compounds that are "not usable as weapons." This heating and mixing process to facilitate chemical reactions purportedly has destruction efficiency of 99.9 percent.  Read More
A nuclear submarine could replace Austrlia's aging diesel fleet, such as HMAS Collins (Ima...
A green paper published by University College London (UCL) argues that it is entirely feasible for Australia to replace its aging fleet of diesel submarines with nuclear-powered craft.  Read More
Boeing Thin Disk Laser engineers and the laser's main optical bench (Photo: Boeing)
The likelihood of lasers appearing on the battlefield was boosted last week when Boeing announced that its Thin Disk Laser system had achieved unexpected levels of power and efficiency. In a recent demonstration for the US Department of Defense, the laser’s output was 30 percent higher than project requirements and had greater beam quality, a result which paves the way toward a practical tactical laser weapon.  Read More
HMS Hermes may have been one of the ships equipped with a laser weapon (Photo: Royal Navy)
Despite recent demonstrations by the US Navy, we still think of laser weapons as being things of the future. However, previously-classified British documents prove that not only were the major powers working on laser weapons in the 1970s and 80s, but that they were already being deployed with combat units in war zones. A letter from the Ministry of Defence released under the 30-year rule reveals that laser weapons were deployed on Royal Navy ships during the Falklands War in 1982, and that the British government was concerned about similar weapons being developed behind the Iron Curtain.  Read More
ScanEagles can provide real time telemetry for prolonged periods (Image: Boeing)
Radio has come a long way since Marconi bashed a telegraph key and radar is a miracle compared to when it was just a squiggle on a cathode tube, but despite a century of advances, they’re still prone to the same problems as the first pioneers encountered. For five days in July, the Office of Naval Research’s (ONR) Research Vessel (R/V) Knorr made a survey in the waters off Virginia Beach, Virginia using ScanEagle UAVs to study the effect of oceanic and atmospheric changes on radar and radio waves with the aim of producing more secure military communications and improve the ability of radar to detect hostile craft.  Read More
Los Alamos National Laboratory, where the United States' nuclear arsenal was developed
A secret of Cold War came to light recently with Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico releasing a video tour of what was once one of the most secret and secure locations in the United States. For decades, Tunnel Vault was used to house nuclear weapon components, but the now declassified facility has now become an artifact of the Dr. Strangelove age.  Read More
Nukemap3D produces virtual mushroom clouds
Feeling cheerful? Why not remedy that by going online and seeing what would happen if someone dropped an H-bomb on your hometown? The browser-based Nukemap3D uses a Google Earth plug in to produce a 3D graphic of the effects of a nuclear weapon on your city of choice. All you have to do is pick your target, select your favorite thermonuclear device, and you can see an animated mushroom cloud rising over ground zero. Gizmag caught up with the creator, Dr. Alex Wellerstein, to talk about Nukemap3D.  Read More
The X-47B making the first UAV arrested carrier landing
The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator put another page in the history books on Wednesday with its first unmanned arrested-wire carrier landing. The drone flew 35 minutes from Patuxent River Naval Air Station to the carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) off the coast of Virginia, where is landed at about 145 knots (167 mph, 268 km/h) with an arresting wire catching its tail hook and bringing it to a stop in 350 ft (107 m).  Read More

Artist's concept of the Ground Systems FANG vehicle
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced on Monday the winner of the first challenges in its competition to design the Fast Adaptable Next-Generation Ground Vehicle (FANG). The US$1 million prize went to “Ground Systems” – a three-person group with members in Ohio, Texas and California. The first of three challenges, the purpose of the competition is to bring crowdsourcing to the problem of creating armored vehicles, with the hope of reducing the design costs by a factor of five.  Read More
Northrop Grumman's CUTLASS UGV is designed to provide remote handling and surveillance of ...
The arrest of one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects was carried out, in part, with the help of a remote controlled robot. Such an operation highlights the growing uses of unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) in anti-terrorist and other operations. Northrop Grumman Corporation’s CUTLASS robot, developed by its division in Coventry, U.K. is designed to provide remote handling and surveillance of hazardous threats and is intended to replace British Army’s Wheelbarrow robot for bomb disposal.  Read More
Laser Weapon System (LaWS) temporarily installed aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS D...
The U.S. Navy took a step farther away from John Paul Jones and closer to James T. Kirk as it announced that a solid-state laser weapon will be deployed on a U.S. Navy ship in fiscal year 2014. The announcement that the Laser Weapon System (LaWS) will deployed on board USS Ponce (AFSB[I] 15) two years ahead of schedule was made on Monday at the Sea-Air-Space exposition, National Harbor, Maryland. The deployment is the latest in a line of recent recent high-energy laser demonstrations carried out by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and Naval Sea Systems Command.  Read More
Raytheon's 3D Audio system presenting a threat warning
Pilots need sharp eyes, but Raytheon is looking to their ears as well. The company has developed a new 3D Audio system for aircraft, that turns information into an audible three-dimensional picture. It helps pilots identify where threats are coming from, and keeps radio channels untangled.  Read More
Paratroopers in T-11 parachutes and teh IOTV armored vest
If any soldier needs body armor, its a paratrooper making a parachute drop. Unfortunately, standard body armor is too inflexible for paratroopers to use without the risk of being injured upon landing, but the US Army’s Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate hopes to rectify this, conducting test jumps with both the latest parachutes and body armor.  Read More
The Lockheed Martin Miniature Hit-to-Kill interceptor roaring off the launcher (Photo: Loc...
The U.S. Army is funding Lockheed Martin to develop hardware and software for the Extended Area Protection and Survivability (EAPS) program. Under this program, Lockheed Martin has conducted the first guided test flight of the Miniature Hit-to-Kill (MHTK) interceptor rocket. The MHTK is designed to defeat incoming rocket, artillery, and mortar fire out to ranges of 3 - 4 km (1.9 - 2.5 miles).  Read More
Boeing B-52 Stratofortress (Image: USAF)
Last week, the United States Air Force’s 2nd Bomb Wing made its first live run with a new Lockheed Martin Sniper pod installed on the wing of a B-52H Stratofortress. Taking off from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, the practice run introduces new combat abilities that will give the aging bomber better integration with ground forces and laser-guided bombs for precision strikes.  Read More
BAE Systems' Artisan 3D Medium Range Radar Type 997
If you've ever worried about the threat from supersonic tennis balls, then BAE Systems’ Artisan medium-range Type 997 3D surveillance radar should put you at ease – it can detect one traveling at Mach 3 (1,980 mph, 3,186 km/h) at a distance of 25 kilometers (15.5 mi). The new radar, developed for the Royal Navy’s Type 23 Duke-class frigates, is designed to simultaneously detect 900 targets smaller than a bird, against background noise equivalent to 10,000 mobile phone signals at ranges from 200 meters (656 ft) to 200 kilometers (124 mi).  Read More
Rheinmetall's Gladius soldier system is billed as most advanced system of its kind
The Rheinmetall Group has been awarded an €84 million (US$112 million) contract to supply a further sixty of its modular Gladius "future soldier" systems to the German Federal Defense Force.  Read More
First flight of the Northrop Grumman LEMV airship (Photo: Northrop Grumman)
When Northrop Grumman announced that it was building the Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV), it looked as if the age of the great airships was returning. When the LEMV took to the air in its maiden flight, it seemed a certainty. Now, the US Army has announced that the US$517 million program has been cancelled.  Read More

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