Precision guided munitions have completely altered the face of warfare, but the humble mortar has remained virtually unchanged for decades, lobbing explosive rounds at a faraway enemy with a relatively high degree of inaccuracy. Finally, the U.S. army is giving this this infantry workhorse a 21st-century update, fielding GPS-guided mortar rounds for the first time.
Genuine language translation has been one of the Holy Grails of DARPA research for decades, as it would vastly simplify military and humanitarian operations abroad and otherwise bridge the gaps between cultures made persistent by an inability to communicate. Now, rather than banking on some kind of handheld universal translator device (very Star Trek) DARPA wants an thinking robot that can interpret various languages and make decisions about what it hears (very Star Wars).
Long gone are the days of pushing plastic armies around hand-drawn maps. Today's military planners deserve technology of the future, and that means nothing less than 3-D holograms will do. Luckily, we have DARPA, ever-ready to step in with a solution.
About a month ago we wrote about robot maker TiaLinx Inc.'s Cougar20-H robot, a rolling ground-based 'bot with sensors so acute it can detect a person breathing through a concrete wall. But, as we (and others) pointed out at the time, the limited mobility of a terrestrial robot limited the Cougar's applications.
When it comes to space-based missile defense, history tells us it’s a good idea to be skeptical of any given development. Nonetheless, it appears Northrop Grumman has gone and done something pretty cool, tracking a ballistic missile through all phases of flight, a feat one Grumman VP called “the Holy Grail for missile defense.”
Future camouflage uniforms will draw power from the sun during the day and from a soldier’s body during the night, turning infantrymen into true sunshine patriots. The system could provide continuous power for a radio, GPS and weapons, but at half the weight of traditional battery packs.
The stealth club just keeps on growing. China's new mysterious jet prototype, thought to be a stealth fighter prototype to rival America's F-22 Raptor, made its public debut just after the New Year in a series of "leaked" photos and video clips. Now, a Japanese senior military officer says Japan will test its own homegrown stealth fighter in just three years.
Three months after its first mission ended, the military is launching another X-37B space plane on Friday, in a second classified mission for the X-37B program. If the weather holds up, the second X-37B orbiter will launch Friday afternoon on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, according to launch manager United Launch Alliance.
If the idea of being hunted by an unmanned aerial drone is unnerving the thought of multiple robots planning a coordinated attack is downright frightening. Unfortunately for those who have to worry about such things, the DoD is working on software tools that allow robots in the sky and on the ground to do exactly that.