Automated combat systems have long held a place in science fiction. Warfare turns into battles between machines, some directly controlled by human beings and some completely autonomous. We’ve all heard about the airplane drones that are seeing significant use in recent conflicts, but here’s something quite different. The US Navy is testing autonomous swarm boats. They’re small, unmanned boats that sense the environment and work together to achieve their objective. That may be to protect a particular ship, attack a target, etc. It’s quite interesting. Note, however, that the Navy doesn’t allow the swarm boats to utilize their weapons unless there is a human being on board. The linked video explains in more detail.
Archive for the 'Military' Category
The US Navy will be deploying a laser weapon system later this year, a la Star Wars, and has plans to deploy a railgun within the next two years. Railgun systems have been available in laboratory settings for a while now, and the real challenge has been meeting their huge power requirements on a seagoing vessel—the ship hosting the railgun, for example, will be able to generate 78 megawatts of electricity, enough to power a medium-sized city.
The linked article is a firsthand account by Air Force pilot Brian Shul of what it’s like to fly an SR-71 in combat conditions—in his case, over Libya in 1986. For those who aren’t familiar with it, the SR-71 is the fastest plane ever built, reaching speeds well above Mach 3. Shul also provides some background information on the plane, which was retired in 1989 (then reactivated in a limited capacity and retired again in 1998).
Thanks to Mike Primm for this link.
The linked article is a glowing review of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. If the plane lives up to all the praise being heaped on it, we’ll have the fighter jet equivalent of a grand slam home run. It’s something of a technological marvel.
During World War II, it was important for the allies to be able to estimate German tank production. The Germans made this task easier by using a simple range of serial numbers that began with “1” and were incremented by one for each new tank. Thus the allies could read the numbers off captured/destroyed tanks and use statistics to estimate the total number of tanks produced. After the war, when the production records were available to the allies, they found that the predicted number was nearly identical to the actual value, and that the estimate from traditional intelligence sources was off by a factor of five.
CNET News has a trio of articles on the cutting-edge technology being used on the latest generation of US Navy ships. There’s the DDG 1000 destroyer (slated for deployment in 2015), the upcoming CVN-78 aircraft carrier (USS Gerald R. Ford, to be completed in 2013 and deployed in 2015), and the Virginia class submarine (USS North Carolina, already in service). Each article has an associated photo gallery that’s interesting in its own right.
For those of us who haven’t been involved in warfare, the video in the linked article shows details of an actual combat operation in Iraq. Note that although the video is heavily slanted toward a certain point of view, Chad’s News has no opinion on the matter and is only posting this link because it gives insight into a world hidden from most people.
This weapon is capable of identifying and destroying multiple ground targets. The first link is a video explaining how the weapon works, including real film footage. The second link has an embedded video showing a reconstruction of an Iraq war event where the BLU-108 played a major part. It’s just amazing how far weapons technology has come.
The AA12 is a fully automatic, low recoil shotgun designed for military use, particularly urban warfare. The video goes to great lengths to show just how destructive it is, but then they add shells containing winged grenades and other types of explosives—with a range of nearly 200 yards. It would almost be worth going back into the military if I could use one of these.
I’ve just finished watching the seventh and final episode of the PBS documentary, The War. It was graphic, sobering, educational, and very, very eye-opening. I cannot express strongly enough, that I think everyone should see this documentary.
During US naval exercises in the Pacific, an undetected Chinese submarine surfaced within torpedo range of the battle group’s aircraft carrier. Needless to say, this was -not- supposed to be possible.