5 cool Sci-fi weapon systems in development

October 10th, 2011  

Topic: 5 cool Sci-fi weapon systems in development

This is an article I copied from Cracked.com

Ever find yourself watching a movie, and at the moment the villain whips out an elaborately sinister doomsday device, you say, "Hey, I wouldn't mind having one of those things!"
Well, it turns out defense contractors are thinking the exact same thing. The only difference is they have billions to spend to make it happen. Coming soon to a battlefield near you:

#5. The Advanced Tactical Laser, Boeing's Flying Laser Cannon

We've been waiting for a good freaking death ray for, oh, about 70 years. So when Boeing says, " ... directed energy weapons are relevant to today's battlefield and are ready to be fielded," we pay attention.
Now, Boeing's already doing a few interesting things with laser technology on a smaller scale (like mounting devices to Humvees and using them to detonate bombs from a safe distance. They can also put a bigger one in a jumbo jet and use it to destroy incoming ICBMs from hundreds of miles away. But those are hardly death rays, right? They're reassuring defensive measures designed to protect our brave men and women!

That's where the Advanced Tactical Laser comes in.

Designed to engage (that is, utterly destroy) ground targets, the ATL is a weapon fitted to an aircraft like a C-130 transport plane. From 10,000 feet up and five miles away, this 40,000-pound, megawatt-class, chemical laser will melt a hole through a tank.

Or should we say, tanks. The ATL is intended to strike up to 100 targets in rapid succession. Oh, and the beam's silent. And invisible. One moment you're having a nice cup of coffee atop your troop transport, the next you're a smoking hole in the ground.

This space age, science fiction gadget is scheduled for live fire demonstrations later this year.

Where They Got the Idea:
Independence Day.

Or, quite possibly from the 1985 Val Kilmer comedy Real Genius.


#4. Railguns, the Navy's Fleet-Destroying Doom Cannons

If you're into sci-fi or first-person shooters, chances are we had you at "railgun." For everyone else, there's the above picture. If you can't make out the writing there, it says "Velocitas Eradico." Speed destroys. That's from a recent railgun demonstration by the US Navy.

Railguns work by electrically generated magnetic repulsion, no toxic chemicals or propellants involved--so yay, finally a gun that kills people and not the environment! In the test pictured above, the projectile was fired with an electric charge of 10.6 megajoules, that's a one second pulse of 10.6 million watts, or enough electricity to power the average American household for a year. When applied in a single split second to an aluminum slug that's much, much smaller than your house, it's enough to make the slug do Mach 7. For those of you who just imagined a seven blade razor, first pretend you're not an idiot, and then try to conceive of something moving fast enough to ignite the air around it and to **** up anything it strikes in ways science barely understands.

How far away are these things? Well, the Navy intends to put 64 megajoule railguns in their new, all-electric DD(X) battleships, which should be ready in 10 years.

Winston Churchill, in a quote that wasn't used on Navy recruiting posters, dismissed Naval tradition as "rum, buggery and the lash." In American, that's "rum, boning dudes and the lash." If Churchill's right, we just hope the rum makes the sodomy go down easier. We'd join a radical off-shoot of Scientology that thought Tom Cruise was too heterosexual and timid in his beliefs if there was a chance we'd get to fire a railgun.

Where They Got the Idea:
They seem to have combined Quake's railgun ...

... with the BFG 9000 from Doom.


#3. The iRobot Warrior, brought to you by Roomba! The Robotic Floorvac

The world has already gone from bomb disposal bots (which seemingly half the police departments have now) to patrol robots fitted with assault rifles. So what's next? Fully-armed droid soldiers?
Well, they decided to skip that step and went right to droid soldiers that can fire a million ****ing bullets a second. The company iRobot (yes, the Roomba guys) are teaming up with Australian weapons company, Metal Storm, to create Warrior. iRobot will provide the robot part, and Metal Storm provides the Firestorm weapons system, and revolutionary guns that work by stacking the ammo in the barrel and cooking it off via electrical impulses.

The result is a robot that can shoot little 40 mm grenades at you at a rate of 4,000 a second.

Having the rounds triggered electronically meshes well with a computer targeting system. And the guns are designed not to jam, so don't count on that once these bastards start rolling down your street.

Or maybe we should just relax. After all, iRobot says Warriors are "being engineered with advanced software, giving them the ability to perform some battlefield functions autonomously."
See? Perfectly harmless.

Where They Got the Idea:
It reminds us of the unmanned Hunter-Killers that roamed the landscape of the future in the Terminator series.
It probably would have reminded us of the ED-209, but iRobot scrapped their original plans to make them look like a robotic chicken ****ed a machine gun toting fencing helmet.


#2. "Rods from God," Space-Launched Kinetic Megabombs

There's an urban legend about a woman killed by a shaft of frozen urine fallen from a plane's leaking toilet. Then there's the one about pennies dropped from the top of the Empire State Building, passing through pedestrians' skulls like bullets. Then there's the one about telephone pole-sized tungsten rods dropping from an orbital weapons platform at 36,000 feet per second to impact the earth below with the force of a meteor strike.

Guess which one you won't find on Snopes under "stupid b******t?"

Yes, enormous Swords of Damocles hanging in space are one more reason to lie awake at night, thinking about how much safer we feel thanks to science.

The so-called Rods From God system would have two satellites placed in orbit, one to control communication and targeting, the other containing the rods. When released, nothing but gravity and a little remote guidance is needed to bring them down on target like the wrath of Zeus.

The brute force of hundred-kilogram rods traveling over 7,000 MPH makes them ideal for penetrating underground bunkers, your mother, and hardened nuclear missile silos. You know, things you might find in a rogue state, in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Such treaties don't apply to hypervelocity rods, though they strike with the force of a tactical nuke, they produce no radioactive (and far less political) fallout. The US Space Command (where we always claimed our Dad worked even before we knew it existed) says they plan to have this capability by 2025.

Where They Got the Idea:
These apparent James Bond fans seem to have combined the orbital death laser from Diamonds Are Forever with the wicked-awesome spear gun Bond used in Thunderball.


#1. Modular Disc-Wing Urban Cruise Munitions (i.e. Exploding Flying Saucers)

We know what you're thinking. "C'mon, Cracked, that's Photoshopped! You don't really expect me to believe the military has flying saucers?" Well ... they might. One thing they definitely have are Lethal Frisbee UAVs, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

These are robotic drones being developed for the Air Force by Triton Systems, who believe they're well-suited to urban combat environments. Fired from a device like a skeet-launcher, the discs then fly via remote or internal guidance into hostile, heavily-defended areas.

High maneuverability would allow them to, say, access an upper story apartment or flank and close on an entrenched enemy position. When near the enemy, the drone detonates. Its MEFP warhead will spray the area with armor-piercing shrapnel to shred infantry or, alternately, form a single-targeted explosion to destroy heavy vehicles or perform demolition work.

So all this means that pretty soon it'll be easy to spot insurgents. They'll be the ones with the champion Frisbee dogs.

So there you have it.
What are your thoughts on the plausibility etc of these ideas?
I had no part in writing this article, it's just copied from Cracked.com so please feel free to point out flaws etc.
October 10th, 2011  
I read an article today about the work being done on exo-skeletons. If they can get those working properly, it won't be a big step to add armour to the outside of it. Space Marine power armour isn't far away!
October 10th, 2011  
I saw that on YouTube too.
How practical do you think it will be?
I mean, big, slow, power hungry..
I can't see it any good in combat. Even with armor.
October 12th, 2011  
It's big, slow, and power hungry....... now. Take a look at your TV, if it's like mine, it's a flat screen high definition LCD, or LED colour TV. I can remember when TVs were big (ith small pictures), slow to warm up, and ran off power hungry cathode ray tubes that deliverd a grainy black and white picture with the sound coming through a single speaker. I don't think it will take too long to come up with viable power armour. 10-20 years, I'd suggest.
October 12th, 2011  
More armor simply means the enemy will use more effective, bigger weapons. In addition to facing higher velocity rounds there is the kinetic force to worry about. Bullets do not bounce off; they slam into you leaving bruises and welts underneath the armor. If a trooper, equipped with armor were hit with a high velocity round then he might suffer broken bones, internal bleeding, ect. A bullet proof helmet may stop a bullet but if it hits hard enough and breaks the trooper's neck the point is irrelevant. Also internal injuries make it much harder to treat a wound. The soldier would probably be out of the fight and doctors would need a great number of specialized devices to determine what is going on inside the body. With an increase in armor protection comes an increase in weapon penetration.

One real neat type of battle suit is Powered Armor. Because the suit has strength augmentation then the trooper can be loaded down with heavier armor, weapons and equipment - right?

Wrong. Infantry rely on controlling terrain that other types of units can't handle. Jungle, cities, hills, ect. If the soldier weighs as much as a tank then he is surrendering many advantages. Powered troops in the jungle could leave footprints a child could follow. Then there is the cost. One major advantage of infantry is their low cost. Special battle suits would increase the cost dramatically. Logistics would also become more important. Someone has to size, repair and modify the suits or they are no more than scrap metal. Powered armor would need a power supply along with any devices that provide electronic countermeasures. Batteries are great but resupply could be a problem.

Technology has changed the way war is fought to an incredible extent. With current advances in technology it could change even more. Technology is becoming more precise and lethal, but anything built by man can be destroyed by man and every system has a weakness and strength.
October 13th, 2011  
I wouldn't suggest power armour for recon patrols in the jungle. Granted, it wouldn't be stealthy. What I'd envisage it being used for is direct assault. Power supply is les of a problem than it has been. Especially in this context. Australian scientists have developed a diesel generator that can be worn on the belt. Noise is the reason it hasn't been put into use. But mated with a big clunky suit of armour that can smash through a door, I doubt noise is a real concern. ANyway, this whole thread is hypothetical by definition. So I'm not getting too wrapped around the axles about it.
February 28th, 2012  
this post is really something else. all of these technologies may seem impractical, bulky and somewhat far fetched, but i doubt the people who made the original call of duty all those years back could imagine MW3! give the military and some PDCs a few years and we'll not even need soldiers anymore. HELLO TERMINATOR!
February 29th, 2012  
Death Star!


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