• U.S. Army envisions an XM-25 smart gunner in every squad from 2014

    U.S. military unveils XM-25 portable airburst artillery piece plans; the XM-25 shoots special, fat 25 mm projectiles which are more or less a cross between ordinary rifle bullets and 40 mm launched grenades; the XM-25 rounds have an added special feature: an extremely accurate time fuse which is set electronically by the gun’s systems at the moment of firing, permitting them to explode in midair at a precise distance from the muzzle

  • Ray gun runs at full power for six hours

    Laser weapons are potentially very powerful, but until now they had one major drawback: All the earlier versions of the weapon were essentially giant rocket engines that burned chemical fuels and reached impressive powers; some even shot down test missiles; all of them, however, only ran for seconds at a time, and needed special fuels that would have created nightmares for battlefield logistics; a new Northrop Grumman ray gun has now run at full power for more than six hours

  • USAF looking to emulate fruit-flies for killer insect swarm drones

    The U.S. Air Force is studying how fruit flies maneuver within a heavily instrumented “simulation tunnel” in order to develop tiny, potentially lethal insect-sized flying robots; tiny military swarm droids could scatter across towns or cities to locate or spy on persons of interest to the U.S. military; they might even be able to land on the back of someone’s neck and blow his head off using some kind of tiny warhead

  • U.S. Air Force creates powerful supercomputer out of PS3s

    The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has connected 1,760 PlayStation 3 systems together to create the fastest interactive computer in the entire Defense Department; the Condor Cluster, as the group of systems is known, is capable of performing 500 trillion floating point operations per second (500 TFLOPS)

  • Color-changing "blast badge" detects exposure to explosive shock waves

    Researchers develop a color-changing patch that could be worn on soldiers’ helmets and uniforms to indicate the strength of exposure to blasts from explosives in the field; blast-induced traumatic brain injury is the “signature wound” of the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; with no objective information of relative blast exposure, soldiers with brain injury may not receive appropriate medical care and are at risk of being returned to the battlefield too soon

  • Advanced UAVs help war on terrorism -- and companies' bottom line

    Ever-more sophisticated UAVs giving U.S. better eyes, ears, and even noses; new sensors enable flying drones to listen in on cell phone conversations and pinpoint the location of the caller on the ground; some can even “smell” the air and sniff out chemical plumes emanating from a potential underground nuclear laboratory; these advances mean a growing and potentially huge business for the defense industry: the drone electronics industry now generates about $3 billion in revenue, but this is expected to double to $6 billion in the next eight years

  • Game-changing rifle arrives in Afghanistan

    A new smart rifle can be programmed so that its 25-mm. ammunition does not explode on impact; instead, it can be set to detonate either in front of or behind a target, meaning it literally will go through a wall before it explodes and kills the enemy; the Army says that enemy soldier can run, but they can no longer hide

  • DARPA looking for a game interface to end all interfaces

    A soldier in the field has his or her hands and voice fully taken up managing their weapons, sensors, and communications; DARPA wants to help: the Pentagon’s push-the-envelope research unit asks for idea on how to develop an interface which would allow soldiers to run, leap, or otherwise navigate about virtually without needing to do so physically

  • Unmanned ships to track hostile subs

    A U.S. military plan to build a crewless, automated robo-frigate which could trail hostile submarines across the oceans for months without supervision; the need for such a system arises because the next-generation air independent propulsion (AIP) submarine technology is spreading beyond Western-aligned nations; these subs could run submerged for thousands of miles

  • A first: Tiny chihuahua set to join Japan police

    Japan is an earthquake prone country; the police in the city of Nara, in western Japan, had an idea: train a tiny Chihuahua to become a search-and-rescue dog; the dog is set to become part of a search-and-rescue team used for disasters; its small size means it will be able to squeeze into places too narrow for dogs such as German Shepherds

  • Non-lethal device deters hostile divers

    Hostile divers may be deterred from approaching U.S. Navy ships, sea ports, off-shore oil rigs, and other infrastructure facilities with an acoustic device that overwhelms them with the amplified sound of their own breath; the device generates low frequency underwater sound that interferes with breathing, induces disorientation, panic, uncontrolled ascent to surface, and decompression sickness

  • Rare Earth elements in U.S. not so rare: report

    Approximately 13 million metric tons of rare Earth elements exist within known deposits in the United States, according to the first-ever nationwide estimate of these elements by the U.S. Geological Survey; despite their name, these elements are relatively common within the Earth’s crust, but because of their geochemical properties, they are not often found in economically exploitable concentrations

  • DARPA: Break-up of hypersonic airplane/missile no big deal

    DARPA first test of its hypersonic airplane/missile — Falcon HTV-2 — failed after the prototype broke up on re-entering the atmosphere; after investigating the causes of the accident, the agency said it is ready for another test; the HTV-2 unmanned test vehicle had no propulsion of its own, being intended rather to try out new airframe and control technologies for use in hypersonic weapons or aircraft of the future

  • BAE tests defense software based on ALADDIN project

    Coordinating military attacks, managing aerial drones, and monitoring terrorists online could all become easier with new software under trial by BAE Systems; a team of researchers from BAE and the universities of Southampton, Oxford, Bristol and Imperial College London spent five years developing a series of algorithms that allow different computer systems to co-ordinate their actions without a central authority

  • Pentagon emphasizes insider threat detection

    Based on a report examining the Fort Hood incident, military leaders have concluded that protecting military bases and facilities only from external threats is no longer a viable strategy; the U.S. military’s four services plan to share information and coordinate efforts more closely to ensure military personnel are protected from insider threats; the armed services will continue to develop the Web-based iWatch and iSalute programs, and DARPA is developing technology — anomaly detection at multiple scales (ADAMS) — to help better identify potential insider threats before they can do damage