Boeing's MATRIX high-energy directed weapon knocks a UAV out of the sky.
U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory
Boeing has just announced it successfully tracked and shot down an unmanned aerial vehicle with a laser weapon. Actually, it shot down five UAVs at various ranges with the trailer-mounted Mobile Active Targeting Resource for Integrated eXperiments (MATRIX).
Military and police higher-ups can now see just how many shots a particular weapon fired during the course of a battle or incident. The Register reports that a new black box device designed for rifles and submachine guns could report on ammo usage and weapon jamming, as well as who shot whom at what time.
This is my boom stick. Well, not mine, but General Atomics'. Known primarily for manufacturing the Predator drone, General Atomics has also moved into the weapons business, as demonstrated by this first ever successful test of their "Blitzer" rail gun. This involved the cannon firing a number of rounds down the range at the US Army's Dugway Proving Grounds.
Like most Army commanders, Lt. General Rick Lynch says that he needed more troops in Iraq, and that they would have saved the lives of men lost under his command. Unlike most commanders though, Lynch isn't demanding flesh and blood soldiers, but steel and rubber robotic infantrymen.
Speaking at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International conference, Lynch said that robot systems already in place could have saved 122 of the 155 men who died during his time in Iraq.
In a recent test at the White Sands Missile Range, a specially equipped C-130 plane fried a parked truck with a powerful laser. And while we still haven't seen evidence of the laser "defeating" a ground target, as Boeing puts it, a video of it scorching a direct hit on the hood of a truck is still pretty amazing.
At the first Robotics Rodeo, hosted this week by the U.S. Army and the Fort Hood III Corps in Texas, war machines replaced bulls and horses. Soldiers and civilian contractors used the opportunity, starting on Wednesday, to inspect a lineup of robots that could potentially find a place on the battlefield.
We at PopSci appreciate new weapons. And lasers. And laser weapons. Which is why we're excited to tell you that the Navy and the Marines have given a company called Applied Electronics about a million dollars to attach lasers onto planes. The weapons would be ultra-short-pulse (USP) lasers, which shoot beams of frequent-pulse light that create a path through the air, via which bolts of electricity can travel toward a target.
Taser has been breathlessly fanning the hype flames for their newest "less lethal" weapon, the X3. Now, they've sent us the first video of it in action, striking three unlucky Taser staffers who (I can only assume) volunteered for the inglorious task of being guinea pigs.
Thinking of going for a swim? Keep an eye out for the Reusable Unambiguous Swimmer Warning Vehicle, a torpedo that can hunt down any swimmer who poses a threat to U.S. waters. It circles around its victim, relays the exact GPS coordinates of the prey, and sounds an alarm.
The most ambitious weapons program in Army history calls for a whole new arsenal of connected gear, from helicopter drones to GPS-guided missiles. But what happens if the network that links it all isn’t ready?
By James VlahosPosted 04.07.2009 at 6:06 pm 10 Comments
The Army wants to modernize -- and Defense Secretary Robert Gates isn't sure he wants to pay. Among the budget cuts he announced yesterday was a major hit to the Army's most ambitious new weapons program, Future Combat Systems (FCS). Under Gates's proposed budget, a set of FCS fighting vehicles that was supposed to provided light-brigade speed with heavy-brigade punch will be axed entirely. And you know what? Maybe that's okay. The core of what makes FCS futuristic is its ambitious wireless network, which will connect soldiers, surveillance drones and sensors, giving everyone more and better information than ever before. Author James Vlahos explains how it's all supposed to work in this article, from our May issue.
Wall-E went to Iraq.
The small robot rolled out of the desert scrub into a village, paused between two houses, and then approached the closer one. His square head swiveled around, unblinking camera eyes surveying the structure. The sound of shuffling boots filled the air as six U.S. Army soldiers rushed in behind him, assault rifles drawn. Reaching the building he'd scoped, they took cover inside. The robot, meanwhile, whirred on tank treads to investigate the second house. The building had no door, and he rolled inside easily. The soldiers followed. Bang, bang! Gunfire erupted, and moments later the Americans emerged unscathed. The two insurgents inside the house weren't as lucky.