The Future of Warfare Page 5

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Human Involvement

Just remember that as advanced and capable that these new systems and computers are, they all require setup and calibration by people first. So, humans aren’t, and never will be, redundant. As we take for granted the more and more gadgets in our homes, and as we’re talking about military technology, lets not forget all the hard work and dedication by those manufacturers and testers that go into these products. Without their relentless pursuit of mass-production and testing to the highest standards, none of this would be possible. Technology alone will not win wars. There is — and likely always will be — the need for highly trained, highly motivated individuals who can employ old and new tactics alike. Strategy has always been a key part of successful battles.

Another thing that I have learnt is that no matter how advanced an army is, there will always be casualties inflicted by primitive enemies. Guerrilla warfare, where poorly trained but highly motivated soldiers and old and primitive weapons exist, is still likely for some. The Taliban are one such group. Due to mostly luck, even the most expensive, technologically advanced hardware can be disabled or destroyed with relative ease. It is not unknown for a modern, seemingly invulnerable main battle tank to be crippled by the old and simple RPG launcher. Or for an ultra-modern attack helicopter to be brought down by a well-placed burst from the infamous AK47 assault rifle. Vehicles and such will always have weak spots, due to the need for maintenance hatches, engine exhausts and doors. I seriously don’t believe that even with all these advances in technology that things will become FULLY automated and that eventually the machines will turn against us and ‘take over the world’ as depicted is so many sci-fi movies. At the end of the day there’s always the “OFF” switch. One thing is for certain: The future is here.

Hard Facts

Information that I acquired over the years from various media including TV documentaries, magazines and newspaper articles that partly inspired this article was my starting point. The actual source of information is presented below, where available. Unfortunately, many individual sources of specific, detailed information was not logged at the time.

  • Future Combat Systems (FCS) is a U.S. project by the Pentagon’s Joint Forces Command for robotic soldiers, or a 21st-century army.
  • NASA’s Advanced Propulsion (NPP) Project is actively researching ways we might travel faster than light. One of the ideas it is researching is that of “warping” space time around a spaceship to achieve faster than light travel.
  • The U.S. military has managed to create a very basic replicator, which can be visualized as a 3-D printer which could create any solid object, though by using lasers and a super-strong resin powder rather than subatomic manipulation of raw matter.
  • Georgia Technical Institute is working on a biogel which could completely cover a wound — keeping out dirt and infection — but at the same time allow the skin to breathe.
  • The same university is making a “smart shirt” with sensors and fiber optics woven into the material. It can monitor a soldier’s heart rate and blood pressure during battle and will automatically send back his exact location if he is wounded.
  • The Human-Assisted Neural Devices (HAND) Program is being funded by the Pentagon’s research division, the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA). Basically, this program involves development of microchip implants in the human brain to create an army of super-human soldiers, cyborg soldiers even.
  • As of October 2006, cloaking devices are in the works for ships, planes and tanks. They deflect electromagnetic waves around the object using copper wires, so that radar does not detect it — making it “invisible”. Laser weapon systems are also being tested.
  • Costing more than one billion U.S. dollars and capable of a cruising speed of Mach 8, or 5280 mph, the “hypersonic” Aurora is just the latest UFO the U.S. Air Force is keeping tight-lipped about. It is said to be powered by “pulsed detonation wave engines”, theoretically capable of producing speeds of Mach 10 at altitudes of 55 kilometers. Although the U.S. Air Force continues to deny the plane even exists, reports of heavy sonic booms and the unusual “doughnut-chain” contrails over the southwest U.S. suggest something’s definitely going on.
  • A device called Silent Guardian, is built by U.S. firm Raytheon, and is part of its “Directed Energy Solutions” program. It’s supposed to be the 21st century equivalent of tear gas or water cannon — a way of getting crowds to disperse quickly and with minimum harm. Silent Guardian is just one of the first in a new wave of ‘non-lethal’ weaponry being developed, mostly in the U.S. These include not only microwave ray-guns, but the Pulsed Energy Projectile weapon. This uses a powerful laser which, when it hits someone, produces a “plasma” — a bubble of super hot gas — on the skin. The Silent Guardian produces waves that are tuned to a frequency exactly designed to stimulate the pain nerves.

Photo Reference

PHaSR gun – U.S. Air Force photo. Link.

Army Future Force Soldier – U.S. Army photo. Link.

Global Hawk UAV – U.S. Air Force photo by Bobbi Zapka. Link.

“Condor” UAV – U.S. Army photo. Link.

Active Denial System – U.S. Army photo. Link.

Sea Shadow – U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin via Wikipedia. Link.

 


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