The only thing that separates science fiction from science is time. The movie The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension mentioned Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems, a defense contractor with the motto, “The future begins tomorrow”. Yoyodyne may have been a fictional front for a group of red Lectroid aliens (all named John, who landed in New Jersey in 1938, using the panic created by Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds radio play as cover), but the future begins NOW with this fascinating article from Teqzy.com.
Invisibility cloaks, cyborg insects, laser beam weapons…you name it, it’s probably secretly being development as you read this right now. Advances in modern weaponry have leapt straight out of science fiction films and into military reality. The US Military budget for 2016 is $786.6 billion. With that kind of spending, it’s not surprising that there have been some insane recent advancements. Here is a list of the 10 most futuristic weapons that will change modern warfare for ever.
LAWS (as in many space operas)
The U.S Navy has a high-tech 30-kilowatt laser weapon system (LaWS) that is capable of destroying sea and air based targets. The weapon can be used in several different ways, which is important, because it is illegal, under the terms of the Geneva Convention, to use laser weapons directly against humans. To warn approaching sea or air based threats, operators can dazzle them with a super bright glare. The second level is a stronger beam which can disable control systems and sensors. Finally, if they haven’t got the picture yet, the full strength beam can completely destroy the target altogether.
SELF-GUIDED BULLETS (as in The Fifth Element)
This US Military development is designed to shoot and not miss. The laser guided bullet can change it’s own direction. It flies with fins that allow it to change direction, and like laser guided missiles, it strikes the target which is lit up by a laser.
ACTIVE DENIAL SYSTEM
This system is menacingly known as the “Pain Ray”. It is an energy weapon the focuses an electromagnetic wave that heats up the target. We have all used magnifying glasses to cook things as kids, but the “Pain Ray” goes one step further – it heats the molecules of the target, which in humans would result in heating of water and skin by an increase of 50 degrees Celsius. With a range of 500m, the invisible beam is literally microwaving the target. The weapon has been deployed for active use in Afghanistan, however it has been withdrawn at this point in time.
Anyone who’s played first person shooter games knows how dangerous it is to shoot around corners. The realities of this in modern warfare couldn’t be more serious, especially for soldiers fighting in urban settings or against guerilla forces. The CornerShot has a steel hinge so that the weapon can bend and shoot. The shooter views the target using a high resolution camera and and LCD monitor. This weapon in in service now and is a powerful tool that is also equipped with a grenade launcher.
RAIL GUN (as in Transformers 2)
The U.S Navy has been testing an Electromagnetic Railgun for several years. The technology relies on utilizing energy as opposed to chemicals, or explosive gunpowder, to fire projectiles. The gun works using electric and magnetic forces to achieve an extremely high kinetic energy that would propel the non explosive projectile at targets. The Railgun can shoot a shell at Mach 10, superior to any traditional weapons, and it also means there is no need to handle or carry dangerous explosive munitions. It looks like this game changer will be in use within the next 10 years and it may have uses outside of just shooting things – the railgun has potential space applications too. NASA has stated that the railgun could be mounted to high flying aircraft to fire payloads into orbit.
DREAD GUN (what a name!)
It’s a seriously menacing name and the Dread Gun does live up to it. The weapon is capable of firing 120,000 rounds per minute, silently and at the same speed as a handgun. By using centrifugal force created from rotating disks, rounds are shot without gunpowder and there is no recoil, or kick, when compared with firing normal bullets. Something that can fire 2000 rounds per second is a terrifying prospect, but the Dread Gun is not a new concept. Attempts had been made to create a similar weapon during WWI, but they were abandoned for various reasons, including inaccuracy. It is uncertain whether the Dread Gun will be adopted for military purposes.
HELLADS (not to be confused with HELL YES)
HELLADS (it wouldn’t be a cool weapon without a long acronym) stands for High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System. Laser weapons seem to be a very popular military choice at present and it’s easy to see why. HELLADS can take down missiles, rockets and artillery shells without having to pause between shots to cool down – a problem associated with laser beam weaponry in the past. The HELLADS has a built in cooling system that allows it to fire rapidly in high intensity situations. It is still in testing, but estimates suggest that this game changing piece of defense weaponry will be in use within the next five years.
QUANTUM STEALTH CAMOUFLAGE (as in Predator)
Anyone who is old enough to remember the Predator movies, staring Arnold Schwarzenegger, will recall that the Predator was so lethal because of it’s ability to cloak itself to match it’s surroundings. Well, straight out of sci-fi film and into reality, a Canadian firm has developed “adaptive camouflage” that bends light around the wearer of the material. It has reportedly been demonstrated to both the U.S and Canadian Military and the applications are endless. For frontline infantry, counter insurgency operations or ejected fighter pilots in enemy territory, an invisibility cloak would prove unbelievably handy. Hyperstealth Biotechnology Corp, the makers of Quantum Stealth, remain extremely secretive of their product. No pictures released can display the product, just examples of it’s use.
HYBRID INSECTS (as in The Fifth Element)
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is a division of the United States Department of Defense, has developed a part insect, part machine that they call the Hybrid Insect Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems program. Basically, DARPA take an insect at the metamorphosis stage of development and then insert a controlling mechanical device. This allows them to fly the developed insect into tightly controlled spaces for surveillance purposes. This literally allows them to bug the enemy. It’s kind of spooky when you start to think about the domestic “big brother” applications.
One of the biggest killers in the Iraq war was soldiers dying from gunshot wounds that could have been prevented with faster treatment. Estimates have these numbers somewhere around 2,700 soldiers. If soldiers had received faster and more efficient medical care, many would have survived. In response to this, developers have created smart clothing that can notify nearby medics of critical information: Where the bullet hit, how deep, what vital organs are hit along with blood and urine analysis. This information allows medics to instantly know what kind of treatment is required and those at HQ can track their soldiers in real time.