Military technology | Homeland Security Newswire

  • Space weaponsHacked satellite could launch microwave-like attacks

    The satellite communications which ships, planes, and the military use to connect to the internet are vulnerable to hackers which, in the worst-case scenario, could carry out “cyber-physical attacks,” turning satellite antennas into weapons which operate, in effect, like microwave ovens. An expert speaking at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, said that a number of popular satellite communication systems are vulnerable to such attacks, which could also leak information and hack connected devices.

  • The Russia connectionU.S. imposing new sanctions on Russia for spy poisoning in U.K.

    The State Department says it will be implementing new sanctions on Russia as punishment for the March 2018 poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on British soil. The new sanctions, which will go into effect on 22 August, target export licenses of sensitive U.S. technologies and industrial equipment, such as electronics, calibration equipment, and gas turbine engines. Russia will also be given 90 days to comply with other demands, including allowing international inspectors into the country to ensure that no chemical or biological weapons exist there. If Moscow does not comply with the demands, a second round of sanctions could further downgrade diplomatic relations with Russia, or even restrict flights by Russian air carrier Aeroflot.

  • Cloak & daggerSyria accuses Israel of killing chemical weapons and rocket scientist

    A senior Syrian weapons engineer killed over the weekend when a bomb in his car exploded was killed in a targeted assassination by Israel’s security agency Mossad, the New York Times reported Tuesday, reinforcing accusations from Syria.

  • DetectionNew nerve gas detector made of a smartphone and Lego bricks

    Researchers have designed a way to sense dangerous chemicals using, in part, a simple rig consisting of a smartphone and a box made from Lego bricks, which could help first responders and scientists in the field identify deadly and difficult-to-detect nerve agents such as VX and sarin.

  • SyriaNetanyahu sets out new Syria policy

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set out three specific demands regarding Syria when he met Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on Wednesday. The three specific demands were the withdrawal of Iranian and Hezbollah forces from the border with Israel; the removal of all Iranian long-range missiles in Syria; and that Syrian civilians must not be attacked in the zone near the Israeli border.

  • Chemical weaponsNovichok: the deadly story behind the nerve agent

    By Alastair Hay

    Earlier this week, in the town of Salisbury, England, two people were poisoned accidentally by traces of the nerve agent Novichok, which Russian intelligence operatives used on 4 March 2018 in an attempt to assassinate former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, along with his daughter Yulia. Alastair Hay’s article was written on 20 March 2018. Why do these lethal chemical agents exist at all?

  • RoboBoatsRoboBoat competition tests students’ engineering skills

    Last week, teams of students from thirteen schools—representing six countries—tested their engineering skills by developing autonomous boats during the 11th annual International RoboBoat Competition. The Navy says that that ingenuity will be needed as the desire for autonomous systems continues to grow—not only for the naval service, but across the commercial sector as companies like Dominos, Amazon and Uber all want to use autonomous vehicles for deliveries.  

  • Chemical weaponsOmitted details from UN report implicate Syria, Iran in use of chemical weapons

    Details implicating Syria and Iran for a series of chemical weapons attacks in January and February were removed from a UN report that had been released last week. A UN commission investigating war crimes during the seven-year-old Syrian civil war uncovered evidence of six chemical weapons attacks perpetrated by the Assad regime between January and 7 April this year.

  • ExplosivesReplacing TNT with less toxic explosive

    Scientists have developed a novel “melt-cast” explosive material that could be a suitable replacement for Trinitrotoluene, more commonly known as TNT. TNT was first prepared in 1863 by German chemist Julius Wilbrand but its full potential as an explosive wasn’t discovered until 1891. TNT has been in use as a munitions explosive since 1902.

  • Drones vs. balloonsIsrael deploys tracking system to fight incendiary balloons and kites

    Israel’s famed military prowess has come up against a decidedly low-tech adversary, the humble party balloon, and found itself thwarted. Over the past few weeks, the residents of the Gaza Strip have let loose a barrage of colorful kites with burning tails as well as festive balloons, sometimes condoms, with fuel-soaked strips of cloth. They land inside Israeli territory, often starting serious fires. Israel has now deployed a system to track balloons and kites carrying burning material across the border.

  • DronesDrones could be used to detect dangerous “butterfly” landmines

    It is estimated that there are at least 100 million military munitions and explosives of concern devices in the world, of various size, shape and composition. Millions of these are surface plastic landmines with low-pressure triggers, such as the mass-produced Soviet PFM-1 “butterfly” landmine. Drones could be used to detect dangerous “butterfly” landmines in remote regions of post-conflict countries.

  • DronesRecommended: An action plan on U.S. drone policy

    Drones have become a mainstay of U.S. counterterrorism operations and national security policy writ large. The Obama administration popularized the use of armed drones, and U.S. drone policy have only become more salient during the Trump administration – but the Trump administration’s approach to U.S. drone policy has thus far revealed a desire to roll back some of the principles, procedures, and guidelines put in place by the Obama administration.

  • The Russia connectionCold War-era KGB “active measures” and the Kremlin’s contemporary way of war

    Bob Seely, a Conservative MP for the Isle of Wight and a Russia researcher, has just published the first comprehensive definition of the nature of modern Russian warfare. The paper draws a direct comparison between Cold War-era KGB “Active Measures” and the aggression of Putin’s Russia. “From fake news aimed at Europe to the propaganda of RT, and from the occupation of Crimea to the streets of Salisbury, Russia is waging a very modern kind of conflict on the West – as well as on the Russian people themselves,” Seely said.

  • DetectionNew tool to detect deadly chemical weapon agents: Butterflies

    Every spring caterpillars shed their cocoons, emerging as butterflies. This timeless symbol of change is now being applied to enhanced chemical detection for U.S. soldiers. Researchers from the military service academies, funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Chemical and Biological Technologies Department, are using butterflies to detect trace amounts of chemical warfare agents with increased precision and speed.

  • Sonic weaponsChina sonic attack: how sound can be a weapon

    By Ian McLoughlin

    Reports of “sonic attacks” in China, and previously in Cuba, have left many wandering whether sonic weapons could be targeting U.S. diplomats. Victims have reportedly experienced mild brain injuries with symptoms including “subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure.” Little is known for definite, but the symptoms do suggest that some sort of sonic interference could have taken place. It is unlikely to be the result of a deliberate “sonic attack.” Instead, these injuries are probably the side effects of intrusive surveillance.