Some up and coming MilTech

A couple of interesting MilTech items caught my eye.

First is a prototype “Ultra Light Vehicle” prototype. ¬†Only in the world of the DoD is a vehicle with a maximum curb weight of 14,000 pounds considered “ultralight.” ūüôā ¬† On the other hand, this is designed to be more blast resistant than an up-armored HumVee and less expensive than the much heavier MRAP.

This is a prototype, not a pre-production model, so it’s more of a rolling test bed. ¬†The hybrid drive is an interesting feature. ¬†Two electric motors, one in the front and one in the back, each capable of moving the vehicle. ¬†Nice survivability feature. ¬†It also has a diesel engine for charging the batteries, supplying power directly to the motors and powering the ton of other gadgets on this vehicle. ¬†Oh, and running quiet on the battery can be useful tactically as well.

The military is still looking at future concepts for individual armor for the War Fighter. ¬†Their current wish list looks a lot like some posts made on Sci.military before the “Endless September” hit UseNET. ¬† Note that these posts were made back in 1991. ¬†They are old enough to buy their own booze, as well as being made before a lot of American kids serving their country now were born.

Switchblade Drone

Nice bit of man portable UAV tech here. The Switchblade drone. ¬†The drone and it’s launcher only weighs in at six pounds. ¬†Not only can this UAV be used to spot the bad guy taking pot shots at you from the ridge line, it can be used to take him out as well. ¬†Faster than calling in an airstrike from an Apache or an A-10, or hoping you are in range of ¬†the platoon mortar team.

Check out the video over at Liveleaks.

The USMC’s new 6 shot 40mm Grenade Launcher

Meet the M-32.  Six rounds, shoulder fired, reported to achieve head shots at 150 meters.

Sweet!

All six rounds can be put on target in under 3 seconds, for when you needs things blowing up a lot, really fast.

Rumored supported rounds include:

  • HELLHOUND rounds with twice the lethal radius of the M433, which will breach doors and kill anything behind them;
  • HUNTIR rounds with cameras in them, that descend on a parachute and send back video.

Thin Displays as Wristbands

The US Army is evaluating forearm mounted full color flexible displays.  Besides the direct military use, I see this as an efficient use of tax dollars since this research will result in a faster availability in the private market as well.

Cool tech from history

The Third Reich had plans for a Rocket Plane that would be able to drop nuclear bombs on American soil.

Multiple V-2 rockets would have launched the “Silver Bird” on a two mile long track, getting high up in the atmosphere before it’s internal rocket engines would have pushed it to Mach 30. ¬†It was to skip off the upper atmosphere, using an early lifting body design, dropping down to drop a payload of four nuclear bombs, and then continuing to land in the Japanese held Pacific Ocean.

That was the theory anyway.  Pesky things, like opening up a second front with the Russians, kept this design from getting off the drawing board.

The Army Tech Blog

The US Army has it’s own Technology blog.

Black is back!

When the US Army adopted the ACU (Army Combat Uniform) with a new digital camouflage pattern, the color black was not to be found in the pattern. The argument was the the color black is not found in nature. I’ve talked with members of the military who were on exercises with people wearing both the ACU and the older BDU uniforms (the BDUs had the woodland pattern) and was told that it was much easier to spot the people in the ACU at night.

It has been announced that the US Army is now producing a variant of the ACU with the MultiCam camouflage pattern. If you look closely at the MultiCam pattern, you will see that it includes the color black.

For now, the MultiCam pattern is only being issued in Afghanistan, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the more effective pattern make its way through the Army supply chain.

There are other changes being made to the ACU, based on feedback from soldiers in the field. One that caught my attention was replacing the Velcro ™ seals on the sleeve cargo pockets with buttons. Makes sense. Buttons are quiet.

10 SciFi weapons in current use

By way of Wired, is this article on SciFi type weapons that exist today.

My favorites:

Just  to check up on how predictions have worked, here are some posts made to sci.military back in 1991 about the future of infantry battle systems.

US Special Forces gets the cool toys…

In this case, it’s a Plasma Knife!

According to this Popular Science article, it’s a medical tool, not a battlefield weapon.

The knife, whose blade consists of heated, ionized gas, cuts through flesh just as easily a steel scalpel, but also cauterizes the wound. By sealing off the damaged flesh, the plasma knife protects against infection, and stops the bleeding that imperils the wounded soldier.

This is too cool not to be turned into a close quarters combat weapon. ¬†I expect some “field expedited” tests coming sooner rather than later. ¬†Really, look at just whom these are being given to.

GPS system in danger

The U.S. Air Forces has dropped the ball on this one. It is reported that GPS satellites could start dropping next year, and the USAF, who maintains the system, may not have replacement satellites ready for launch. 

This is seriously bad project management on the part of the USAF.  This is a vital system that the entire US military, as well as millions of civilians, depend on.