Monday, May 31, 2010

10 Awesome Futuristic/Scifi Weapons that Could Be Coming Soon


Today is Memorial Day in the U.S. and many science fiction shows have been known for including the military as a main fixture in the storyline. The Stargate series come to mind first when I think of science fiction and military: (Thanks for the video link @TheRealMirCat)

Most all of our technological advancements come from the military. So what new futuristic/scifi technology can we look forward to seeing soon? Here are 10 that we might be seeing soon.

#1 - Oxygen Breathing Rockets
"The Indian space agency is planning to flight test by the end of this year its own air-breathing engine that will use atmospheric oxygen as fuel.

Air-breathing engines use atmospheric oxygen and burn it with the stored on-board fuel to generate the onward thrust.

"We will be doing a series of ground tests of the air breathing engine soon. We are planning an actual launch of a sounding rocket - ATV D02 - powered by such an engine by the end of this year," an official of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) told IANS on condition of anonymity.

If rockets can use atmospheric oxygen, how soon until robots can use oxygen from teh atmosphere as a fuel?

#2 - Rail Guns
A company named General Atomics has been working on an electromagnetic rail cannon, which you can see in the video below:

 #3 - Cruise Missiles in a cargo container

This video comes from Kontsern-Morinformsistema-Agat, a Russian company that claims to be building a new cruise missile system, the Club-K, that can be hidden inside a standard 40-foot shipping container.

According to a Reuters news story, the missiles the real deal.

While cruise missiles themselves aren't futuristic, this concept makes any freight truck a potential weapon.

#4 - Lockheed Martin HULC Exoskeleton

Being able to have an exoskeleton help you carry a load up a mountain? Awesome! Now all we have to do is expand that a bit and pretty soon we'll have our own mini MechWarrior units.

#5 - 'Invisible' Helicopters

From the article: "Russian Helicopters is planning to create the world's first fifth-generation combat helicopter which experts say would be able to attack fighter jets and be invisible for radars, Russian daily Gazeta said on Thursday.

"We are working on the concept of the fifth-generation combat helicopter," the paper quoted the company's CEO, Andrei Shibitov, as saying at a news conference in Moscow."
He said criteria for a fifth-generation combat helicopter say it must be radar invisible, have an extended flying range, be equipped with an intellectual arms control system, be able to combat fighter jets (existing helicopters are generally only intended to hit ground-based targets) and reach a speed of up to 500-600 km/h (310-370 mph).
Helicopters than can battle fighter jets? Thankfully this is still in the idea stage, because these things sound freaking deadly!
#6 - Computer Assisted Guns
Need to hit the units inside the building instead of just shooting at the building? No problem! Let the computer on your XM25 calculate the extra distance and force needed to penetrate the building and kill whoever's inside.
From the article:
"If the Soldier "wants to get that round in the window ... what's he's able to do with the high explosive round is he's able to laser designate the building and the round will then fly through the window and explode inside the room," Lehner said.

Aboard the XM25 is a laser rangefinder that can measure the distance to the target and place an adjusted aim point on a targeting screen. The system then allows Soldiers to choose to over-shoot the measured distance so the round will explode inside the building. The targeting computer programs the round to explode at the designated distance. The system allows Soldiers to hit targets they cannot see, because they are hiding behind walls, inside buildings or behind natural obstructions."

Ah crap, now we have computers telling bullets how to kill us quicker!? Don't build this into Skynet please!

#7 - Plasma Shields aka Plasma Acoustic Shield Systems (PASS)

From the 2007 article:
"The US Army hopes, within a few years, to deploy a plasma shield - a machine that generates a protective screen of dazzling mid-air explosions - to stun and disorient an enemy.

The device uses a technology known as dynamic pulse detonation (DPD). A short but intense laser pulse creates a ball of plasma, and a second laser pulse generates a supersonic shockwave within the plasma to generate a bright flash and a loud bang.

The Plasma Acoustic Shield System will eventually combine a dynamic pulse detonation laser with a high power speaker for hailing or warning, and a dazzler light source. PASS has already been demonstrated by the system's makers, Stellar Photonics."
This thing has already been demonstrated?! Great...
#8 - Sky radar that sees around corners.
Having trouble tracking that terrorist through the city? Just use the Multipath Exploitation Radar to help track him.
"Traditional radar relies on direct line of sight, so it's tricky to track a vehicle that keeps nipping behind buildings. But DARPA believes that by using buildings as mirrors, it will be possible to identify a target vehicle from radar reflections. The experimental system is called Multipath Exploitation Radar."
#9 - Space Marines/Drop Ships - "Sustain"
"If a group of Marine Corps visionaries have their way, however, 30 years from now, Marines could touch down anywhere on the globe in less than two hours, without needing to negotiate passage through foreign airspace. The breathtaking efficiency of such a delivery system could change forever the way the U.S. does battle.

The proposal, part of the Corps's push toward greater speed and flexibility, is called Small Unit Space Transport and Insertion, or Sustain. Using a suborbital transport-that is, a vehicle that flies into space to achieve high travel speeds but doesn't actually enter orbit-the Corps will be able, in effect, to instantaneously deliver Marine squads anywhere on Earth."

Drop ships that can get anywhere on earth in 2 hours sounds like something to be prepared against if you ask me!
(another article)

#10 - Biological computers - Neuroscience

From the article:
"BATALLIONS of super-soldiers could be selected for specific duties on the basis of their genetic make-up and then constantly monitored for signs of weakness. So says a report by the US National Academies of Science (NAS).
If a soldier is struggling, a digital "buddy" might step in and warn them about nearby threats, or advise comrades to zap them with an electromagnet to increase their alertness. If the whole unit is falling apart, biosensors could warn central commanders to send in a replacement team."
Cortana, it's nice to meet you!

And these weapons are just the ones the public knows about. I'm sure our military scientists are working hard right now trying to replicate their favorite weapons from science fiction. Maybe someday soon we'll be able to see these in action (or on second thought, I'd rather not see them in use, at least not in my country)!


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