Since man first appeared on the planet, we have been in conflict with one another. As we evolved, so did the weapons we used in our wars. From sticks and stones, to bows and arrows. From the first firearms to tanks, submarines, and stealth aircraft.
We are constantly looking to technology to evolve the weapons we use and give us an advantage . I have listed some of the weapons currently in development that may be commonplace on the battlefield of tomorrow.
Imagine a tiny robot, about the size of a child’s pinkie finger. A robot that looked and moved like a tiny earthworm. Made of a very durable – almost indestructible – synthetic material. A robot that could sneak its way into almost any battlefield situation and record data, audio, and possibly even video and report this data back. Several universities, including Harvard and Seoul National University, are working together on the development of the meshworm.
The use of unmanned drones has been well-documented in recent years. Drones are remotely controlled aircraft, capable of precision strikes on enemy targets. Drones are capable of conducting live fire missions without the danger of sustaining battlefield casualties if a plane is shot down. Researchers are at work developing a high-speed drone capable of reaching 4000 miles per hour, and reaching an altitude of 100,000 feet. The drone should be ready for deployment within the next five years.
A.D.S (Active Denial System)
The Active Denial System is a non-lethal weapon developed by the us military for use in crowd control, and securing a perimeter. A.D.S. is an energy directed weapon that heats up the surface of its target. Currently only a large weapon that can be vehicle mounted, smaller scale versions are currently in development. Its has been reported that several other countries are also working on their own versions of A.D.S.
Science Fiction movies have portrayed their own versions of the exoskeleton for decades, from alien invaders to futuristic soldiers, however recent developments may soon bring this technology from our television screens into reality. Several companies have been commissioned by the U.S. to work on the development of a functioning exoskeleton. And the projects have been ongoing for over a decade. A functioning exoskeleton would give soldiers extra strength on the battlefield. The applications could also extend well beyond the scope of the military, including helping people with physical disabilities.
The Microwave Gun is a non-lethal weapon designed to fire a wave of sound directly into a persons skull. The eardrum receives the ray, and recognizes it as sound. Since the ray is directed at the skull, protective ear pieces offer no resistance. The weapon is being developed primarily for use in crowd control and to subdue an enemy without using lethal force. Large scale vehicle mounted weapons, as well as smaller hand held versions are in development. Early versions of the weapons have been tested in Iraq.
In development,the Zumwalt Destroyer is a navy warship that will focus on land attacks. The destroyer will provide fire support, and have anti aircraft capabilities. The destroyer is being designed to have a low radar profile, making if harder for enemies to spot. The Zumwalt will also require a smaller crew to operate than the ships in use today. The Zumwalt will likely be equipped with tomahawk missiles, a rail gun, and possibly free electron lasers in the future.
As technology grows, so does the military technology that countries use to fight their wars, control crowds, and gather information.
Author Sergio Lee is the engineering manager at DearJane in Sydney, Australia. He has had a long career in software and infrastructure project management and now he challenges himself in a broader portfolio role.