• U.S. Air Force looking for miniature weapons for UAVs

    Currently, UAVs in combat overseas mostly use standard air weapons; the lightest, most delicate option available to a prowling UAVs is the Hellfire missile, a hefty hundred-pound laser guided rocket which was originally developed for the purpose of taking out heavily-armored main battle tanks; the U.S. Air Force tasks Boeing’s Phantom Works with developing a smaller, lighter missile more suitable for fighting terrorists

  • DARPA looking to equip MRAPs with autonomous guns to engage enemy

    DARPA’s Counter Rocket-Propelled Grenade and Shooter System with Highly Accurate Immediate Responses, or CROSSHAIRS, project will engage enemy soldiers autonomously, or remotely operated, while simultaneously shooting rockets out of the air

  • U.S. will not arm drones flying reconnaissance missions over Gulf of Aden -- yet

    The governments of the United States and the Seychelles agreed to use Mahé regional airport as a base for U.S. UAVs flying over the Gulf of Aden in an effort to gather intelligence on Somali pirates; the U.S. says it is not currently considering arming the UAVs

  • DARPA looking for methods to freeze soldiers with brain injuries

    Traumatic brain injuries are caused by repeated exposure to blasts, specifically the “supersonic wave” of highly-pressurized air they emit; within a fraction of a second after impact, brain cells, tissues, and blood vessels are stretched, torn, and distorted; over the hours, days, and months that follow, altered brain processes create a snowball effect of damage — which is why symptoms often don’t show up until troops come home; in its solicitation, DARPA notes that a portable brain-cooling unit, deployed in the field, could “extend the golden hour of patient survivability and increase the chances for full recovery”

  • U.S. Navy set to replace trained sea mammals with robots

    Since the 1960s, the U.S. Navy has trained hundreds of sea mammals — dolphins, sea lions, and seals – for various under water missions, including detecting explosives, interceding hostile swimmers, helping locate underwater cables, and general reconnaissance tasks; as these torpedo size underwater robots get cheaper and more capable, the sea mammal program will be phased out

  • Afghan insurgents have found ways to destroy MRAPs

    The Pentagon has spent more than $26.8 billion to develop and build three versions of the largest Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles, or MRAPs, totaling some 16,000 vehicles, mostly for the Army and Marine Corps; another $5.4 billion is being spent to produce 5,244 M-ATVs, the smaller version that U.S. defense officials contend offers as much protection as the large models do, but is more maneuverable and better suited to Afghanistan’s dirt tracks and narrow mountain roads; insurgents in Afghanistan have found ways to cripple, and even destroy, the vehicle

  • Iraqis use "magic wand" at checkpoints to detect explosives; U.S. officer: this is "laughable"

    The Iraqi government has spent tens of millions of U.S. aid dollars to buy thousands of “magic wands” which are supposed to detect explosives at checkpoints; one American officer says the device works “on the same principle as a Ouija board”; another officer says that to believe the claims of the British company which is selling the device, and of the Iraqi authorities that swear by it, “would be laughable” — except that people are dying as a result; “[the company and Iraqi government have] crossed an insupportable line into moral depravity” he says

  • Gait-recognition biometric technology to help soldiers manning checkpoints

    SET Corporation is developing a technology which directs low-power radar beams at people — who can be 50 yards or more away; early research indicates that this method could one day be augmented with video-analysis software that spots bombers by discerning subtle differences in gait that occur when people carry heavy objects

  • New communication system to help protect soldiers in the field

    The new technology will use arrays of highly specialized antennas that could be worn by combat troops to provide covert short-range person-to-person battleground communications; the technology will lead to advanced wireless systems that would enable small squads of soldiers to share real-time video, covert surveillance data and tactical information with each other via helmet-mounted visors