War spurs innovation, and U.S. soldiers are seeing a lot of it. How well is the new equipment performing in Iraq? Launch the Slideshow to find out.
M-14 Sniper Rifle
Pros: Better range and stopping power than the M-16 and M-4 rifles that replaced the â€50s â€relic.â€
Cons: Fires more slowly than the M-16 and M-4, and requires different ammunition.
Meerkat Mine Detector
Pros: Blast resistant, but also designed to break apart in places when hit by an explosion, to protect the operator.
Cons: They´re available only in small numbers and require armed escorts.
AH-64D Apache Longbow
Pros: Fast, lethal support for ground troops. Radar above rotors allows it to scan over hills without detection.
Cons: Cost and complexity make it difficult to operate, and it´s vulnerable to ground fire.
Talon Small Mobile Robot
Pros: Has saved lives by letting soldiers handle bombs remotely. Can be made waterproof for underwater detection.
Cons: Difficult to use at night, and sometimes gets tweaked by nearby radio jammers.
M1A2 Abrams Battle Tank
Pros: Nearly invulnerable to attack. Fast and quiet (for a tank). Can see and shoot accurately in the dark-even at 40 mph.
Cons: Not suited to urban combat. Big, expensive, and sucks gas.
Link 16 Data Exchange System
Pros: In theory, Link 16 enables a small number of vehicles to cover a vast territory.
Cons: Has evolved in fits and starts, so many vehicles use incompatible message formats.
Buffalo Route-Clearance Vehicle
RQ-4A Global Hawk
MQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Pros: Provides excellent, real-time surveillance imagery and the ability to attack targets with little advance notice.
Cons: Only a handful are airborne at any time, so most units don´t get them when they want.
Litening Targeting and Sensor Pod
Pros: Turns jets into sophisticated surveillance platforms at the flip of a switch.
Cons: Expensive, and available only in limited numbers.