• Explosive-detecting rats to save soldiers' lives

    An Oklahoma State University researcher received a $740,000 grant from the Department of Defense to conduct the research into using rats as landmine sniffers; rats have three advantages as bomb sniffers: the rodents, about the size of a small cat, can cover a lot of ground quickly; their acute sense of smell enables them to sniff out land mines, but they are small enough that they do not detonate the mines; also, they do not form attachments to their handlers so anyone could deploy them

  • Pentagon testing "Taser grenades"

    The Pentagon recently placed an order for a test batch of “Taser grenades,” a long-range electroshock projectile; the grenades, designed by Taser International under a $2.5 million contract, are a forty-millimeter Human Electro-Muscular Incapacitation (HEMI) projectile that is intended to stick to a target and deliver a series of intense electric shocks, leaving them incapacitated; if tests are successful, HEMI could be ordered for rapid deployment to Afghanistan

  • Force Protection Equipment Consortium to meet in mid-May

    Held every two years since 1997, the collaborative effort between government and more than 575 exhibitors from U.S. and allied industries known as the Force Protection Equipment Demonstration will feature more than 3,000 commercial off-the-shelf items of equipment and systems for countering terrorism

  • Fireballs neutralize biological weapons

    A California company will develop fireballs that can neutralize biological weapons and infrared decoy flares that are nearly invisible to the naked eye; the company, the fireballs are among the counter-terrorism tools that Exquadrum plans to start testing soon at four abandoned military bunkers in Victorville, California

  • Swiss institute developed IED Zapper

    IEDs kill and injure more American and coalition soldiers in Afghanistan than any other weapons insurgents employ; differences in terrain and IED design, where the primary detonator may be constructed of plastic to circumvent metal detectors, make military robots by Foster-Miller, iRobot, and Black-I Robotics not always effective; researchers now suggest detonating hidden IEDs from afar by using an electromagnetic pulse

  • U.S. worries Gaddafi may use poisonous gas as chaos deepens

    Libya has in its possession 9.5 metric tons of mustard gas, and 650 metric tons of precursor chemicals used for developing chemical agents; in 2003, following the invasion of Iraq, Col. Gaddafi’s government sent to the United States the critical infrastructure for its nuclear-weapons programs, including uranium hexafluoride stockpiles, centrifuge machines, and parts for a nuclear fuel-conversion facility; Libya also destroyed its longer-range missiles and 3,300 aerial munitions used to disperse mustard gas and other chemical agents; the program to eradicate Libya’s chemical agents, as well as its chemical weapons production facility, was delayed by spats between Washington and Tripoli over funding and logistics; “When you have a guy who’s as irrational as Gaddafi with some serious weapons at his disposal, it’s always a concern,” said a U.S. official

  • Army mobilizing smart phones for combat

    The U.S. Army is actively working to mobilize smart phones and apps to help soldiers on the battlefield; the Department of Defense currently operates an application store that features various apps that help monitor mental health and gather intelligence on allied and enemy movements; the Army has launched a program called Apps for Army, which encourages soldiers and civilians to help design apps; it also provides training for app development; the Army is hoping to expand app development and is discussing the idea to issue smart phones to every soldier; contractors like Raytheon are eager to enter this emerging market

  • Breakthrough in free-electron laser development

    Breakthroughs in Free-Electron Laser (FEL) technology could mean a virtually impenetrable defense system for Navy ships; the laser weapon has the capability to detect and engage incoming cruise missiles at the speed of light without running out of ammunition

  • China's increasing military might causes concern in Asia, West

    China’s recent test flight of its first stealth fighter comes as part of a larger military buildup that is concerning its Asian neighbors and the West; the Chinese test of their first fifth generation stealth fighter is years ahead of U.S. intelligence predictions; China is also moving ahead with the construction of its first aircraft carrier as well as other capabilities like a “carrier killing” ballistic missile; in response to China’s stealth fighter test, Taiwan test-fired nineteen missiles; nearly a third of the missiles failed; it is unclear what China’s intentions are though leaders claim these weapons are for self-defense

  • Amnesty complains about Brits training on Israeli UAVs

    The British Army has ordered at least thirty Israeli-origin UAVs under the Watchkeeper program; the platform, called WK-450, has been based on the Hermes-450 UAV, produced by Israel’s Elbit Systems; in an interim measure, the British Army has ordered the Hermes-450 for its contingent in the NATO stabilization mission in Afghanistan; Amnesty International complains that British Army personnel have been training in Israel on these UAVs — UAVs which are deployed in the Gaza Strip where, according to Amnesty, the drones were involved “in serious human rights violations”

  • Marines use solar power in Afghanistan to help fuel the fight

    Marines at Forward Operating Base Jackson in the Sangin valley of Helmand Province are using solar energy generators to stretch fuel supplies and save lives; with over 100 British troops killed there, Sangin valley is one of Afghanistan’s deadliest areas; since the implementation of portable solar energy generators, fuel consumption has decreased from twenty gallons to less than three gallons a day; delivering fuel is incredibly dangerous as fuel convoys are often ambushed or hit by IEDs

  • New generation of UAVs being tested

    These are not your father’s UAVs; a new generation of UAVs represent a major technological advance over the Predator and Reaper drones that the Obama administration has deployed as a central element of the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan; unlike most of the current fleet of more than 7,000 drones, the new remotely piloted planes will have jet engines and the ability to evade enemy radar; three members of the new generation of drones being flown in the coming weeks are speedier, stealthier, and higher-flying than their predecessors

  • The guns versus bows puzzle solved

    In Western Europe, military bows became obsolete during the sixteenth century as firearms evolved; in China, however, guns and bows coexisted for almost a millennium; now one scientist thinks he knows why: it was easier to train musketeers than to train good archers, and the composite materials from which good bows were made did not fare well in humid conditions

  • Newly developed cloak hides underwater objects from sonar

    University of Illinois researchers develop an acoustic cloak, a technology that renders underwater objects invisible to sonar and other ultrasound waves; an advantage of the acoustic cloak is its ability to cover a broad range of sound wavelengths; the cloak offers acoustic invisibility to ultrasound waves from 40 to 80 KHz, although with modification could theoretically be tuned to cover tens of megahertz

  • New Israeli technology speeds up warfare

    Israel is among several nations harnessing digital and satellite technology to develop C4I systems — short for “command, control, communications, computers and intelligence” — that integrate battlefield information.; one Israeli officer says the goal is to have “all the elements of a force —- seeing the same tactical picture, and you can move information from one to the other completely seamlessly”