This amazing video, created by Defense Tech, shows the latest test of General Atomics' high-speed railgun. Where earlier attempts have fired ungainly missiles that tumbled end-over-end through the air like "hypersonic bricks," this one uses a sabot round, which flies straight and smoothly for a distance of seven kilometers, AFTER punching through a solid steel plate.
What do you call an armor-penetrating munition? MAHEM. A smokescreen that instantly closes around a tank? DRAPES. A robot that scavenges and feeds itself? EATR, of course.
At the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the military's mad-science research wing, program managers must do the seemingly impossible. Not just slow down the speed of light and make fake blood. They also have to describe these pie-in-the-sky ideas to journalists, the public and Congress.
That's how you get some of the most amusing acronyms ever.
Every now and then a DIY project surfaces on the Internet that’s so cool we have to share it, especially those we should probably recommend you not try at home. YouTube user Larsplatoon’s 1.25 kilojoule coilgun is exactly this kind of project. We’re not even sure where this battery-powered projectile slinger falls with respect to your state’s gun laws, but perhaps the best advice we can offer is what’s plastered to the side of the coilgun’s receiver: “Danger. High Voltage.
By Mark WolvertonPosted 08.24.2010 at 10:08 am 13 Comments
Smuggling a nuclear weapon into the U.S. is distressingly simple—all someone needs is a truck full of watermelons. Regulations prohibit using high-power x-rays on perishables, and Geiger counters don’t beep alerts because the juicy fruit absorbs radiation. But a new drive-through detector takes advantage of cosmic rays to locate any nuclear material, no matter how cleverly hidden.
Directed energy weapons -- the laser weapons of the future -- have shown promise in both their power and their precision. But there are some serious technological challenges involved in weaponizing devices like powerful chemical lasers, not least of which is dealing with the vast amounts of waste heat they generate. General Atomics recently tested a wax-fueled storage device that might just overcome that hurdle, opening the door to the next generation of energy weapons.
New from the designers of the “Tickle Me Elmo” doll: a variable velocity less-lethal rifle. The Lund Variable Velocity Weapons System is a gas combustion rifle that chambers both lethal and less-lethal rounds, automatically adjusting the muzzle velocity downward if a target is too close so as not to accidentally turn a “less-lethal” situation into a highly undesirable one.
Lasers can already track and hopefully shoot down missiles, so perhaps it was inevitable that humans would turn that power against the airborne bloodsucker threat. Scientists from the Intellectual Ventures Laboratory showed their lasers tracking mosquitoes live during the TED 2010 conference, and also unveiled the awesome laser pew-pew effect in a new video. See the smoking hot results for yourself.
From a tactical military standpoint, land mines have a certain set-it-and-forget-it appeal; you blanket an area in munitions and move on, secure in the fact that if the enemy tries to cross that terrain they'll find an automated resistance waiting for them. But we all know that land mines are also one of modern warfare's most indiscriminate and devastating developments, with the capacity to kill and maim innocent people even decades after hostilities have ceased.
Remember the Airborne Laser (ABL), the jumbo-jet-mounted chemical laser weapon designed to knock hostile missiles out of the air in mid-flight? The U.S. Missile Defense Agency has released a video of this futuristic system in action, tracking and engaging a test missile fired from San Nicolas Island off the California coast. While the video might come off just a bit anti-climactic, with no dramatic explosion to cap off the laser blast, it does prove one key thing: the system, at least if the video is to be believed, actually works.
A desert people have developed a new weapon that uses sound instead of bullets. But this time, it will be used to control crowds instead of fighting giant worms or devious members of House Harkonnen. The Israeli Defense Ministry has contracted for the production of sonic-boom stun-guns called "Thunder Generator cannons," which they hope to use in crowd-control situations.