The future of technology in warfare: Laser Cannons & Drone Armies.

in #life7 years ago

The technology of warfare is in constant flux. I mean, there weren't even drones as we know them until late in the last century, and now? 

Military technology has been a driver of innovation for centuries. Scientists, keen to see their research funded have been recruited into government programs and helped create some truly fearsome technology. In the last few weeks, we've seen a number of pieces of military tech that have given us the shudders... For example, in January 2017, the Pentagon announced they'd successfully launched 103 micro drones from F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets. 

A DRONE SWARM! In fact, according to the Pentagon's statement, the 103 micro drones are very much like a Zerg swarm. They're, "not pre-programmed synchronized individuals, they are a collective organism, sharing one distributed brain for decision-making and adapting to each other like swarms in nature". Let all those who oppose the Overmind feel the wrath of the swarm! The modern unmanned aerial drone was first imagined by Nikola Tesla in the 1890s. Now more than 100 years later, we've created a hydra-like swarm of six inch (16cm) autonomous vehicles that could (according to Popular Mechanics) jam enemy communications, form an ad-hoc communications network, carry explosives, trick or jam enemy radar, and even attack individuals. The terrifying goal is to create the drones in batches of 1,000 and be able to launch them from fighter jets or large cargo planes. Of course, in this crazy pants future we'd also need a way to fight drones… so why not lasers? IT’S THE FUTURE, RIGHT? 

In December 2016, the Department of Defense announced a 51-percent budget increase (to 328 million dollars) for "directed energy" weapons... Fancy budget talk for LASERS. The DoD's research group, DARPA, has been working on laser weapons for a long time. They tried mounting lasers inside 747s, but they were relatively slow, and not particularly accurate. The Navy mounted a laser on the USS Ponce, which uses heat energy to destroy drones and other targets, the Army has a laser on the back of a truck that can attack drones and mortars, and the Marines are working on a humvee mounted laser of their very own. Of course, this new research is still classified, but with such a sharp budget increase, there must be something going on. Lasers are still bulky energy hogs, but in an email to Seeker's own Eric Niller: the director of the Directed Energy Professional Society said the biggest issue is just getting the military to actually use lasers. I mean, if we can shoot a drone with a bullet or other traditional projectile, why use a laser? There is one obvious reason, pollution. Lasers are energy, but a bullet leaves behind a casing, and the lead from the projectile itself. And it's not just bullets, shell casings from grenades and explosives also are left in warzones. Over time, the lead from the bullets themselves can pollute ground water and poison the soil. Once in the environment, lead causes damage to the brain, blood, kidneys, heart, and reproductive organs and can kill wildlife too. 

Even though it sounds hippy dippy, the DoD has a solution: biodegradable, lead-free bullets! Sadly, not the actual small bullets, just 40 and 120 millimeter sized casings to start -- they're used in mortars and tanks. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has developed and tested bio engineered seeds that can be embedded in the shells, that grow plants after they've been left in soil for several months. Those plants then absorb chemicals and contribute to the rehabilitation of the warzone. Yep, the U.S. Army could shoot shells that result in new forests. Warfare of tomorrow might not be Terminators and Matrices. Instead, we might be shooting lasers, at swarms of unmanned aerial drones, and if we do have to fire a round, it might leave behind the seed of a new life. The future is weird. One thing is for sure, scientists will keep working on projects that push humanity forward, and sometimes, it will be thanks to war. For example, Ex-Nazis and Jewish scientists were responsible for getting us to the moon. How do you feel about these? Do you have a favorite? Tell me in the comments.


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The laser cannons look so cool! Thanks for sharing such an informative post, Mason!
Upvoted & Followed you as well.

Thanks for reading lazariko

cant wait to pick up a hunting drone for deer season. Do you think I can get a drone that can pick up an animal carcass? and butcher it? and put it in my freezer? and feed it to me?

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