Fight smarter not harder, a review of emerging military tech

Most technological advancement has been civilianzied from military programs, aircraft for ariel combat, telecommunications devices for effective battlefield communication, internet to transfer data and many more. This post will review some of the developed and conceptualised military tech projects the have been publicised and propose some civilian applications. Traditionally, advancements in military technology tend to be kept under a veil of secrecy, but there are some very interesting concepts and prototypes available for public knowledge. Of the multitude of projects and concepts, three have been reviewed for this post. They are the green bullet, force fields and exoskeletons. The first tech reviewed is the green bullet.

The green bullet is as it sounds, although it’s not necessarily a new concept as its development dates back to the late 1990’s. The difference between a ‘green round’ and standard ammunition is that lead is removed and replaced with more environmentally friendly copper. Not only is it safer for the environment it has positive long-term effects, obviously not for the target! War zones and conflicts have predominantly taken place in developing countries with many of the people utilising farming of crops or livestock as the basis for their daily activities and survival. The article Green Bullets (U.S. Military) published by Clive Dilnot quoted an alarming statistic, ‘during the height of active battle operations in Iraq, U.S. soldiers were using 5.5 million rounds of ammunition each month’. The potentially harmful levels of lead leaching from the millions of rounds into the already harsh land would make any farmable produce dangerous to consume. This may be a world away to some people but the conflict in Ukraine further limits some produce being produced impacting the country and its people long after the conflict has come to an end. The next topic is force fields.

In recent weeks a number of articles have surfaced relating to the potential development of force fields, primarily combating side on blasts of Improvised Explosive Devices’ (IED) and so on. According to an article on The next web, Boeing has devised a Laser pulse system that is triggered by shockwaves of an explosion. The system is called a shockwave attenuation via electromagnetic arc. Essentially, once the system detects a shockwave directed towards, for example a vehicle, the system sounds out its own shockwave towards the oncoming shockwave. The idea is that as both shockwaves meet, they cancel each other out thereby limiting any damage to the vehicle or personnel. There are claims that force fields could be utilised for civilian or industrial purposes seems just a little bit farfetched for the moment, exciting, but farfetched. The final review is on exoskeletons.

It’s not just Boeing developing new Military technology, Lockheed Martin, another aerospace giant is developing exoskeletons for military and civilian purposes. The primary concept is called the FORTIS exoskeleton as is defined as ‘an unpowered, lightweight exoskeleton that increases an operator’s strength and endurance by transferring the weight of heavy loads from the user’s body directly to the ground’. In August 2014, the US Navy took consignment of 2 FORTIS exoskeletons for use and evaluation in a military setting. The potential applications for reducing spinal and compounding injuries due to fatigue and excessive weight-bearing situations could not be under estimated. Along with the military application, Lockheed martin envisage a construction workforce able to achieve feats currently impossible by a lone worker.

Image curtosy of FORTIS Exoskeleton.

Image curtosy of FORTIS Exoskeleton.

Lockheed Martin are not the sole developers of an exoskeleton, as are Boeing in the development of force fields or the concepts of green ammunition. For instance the ReWalk is a robotic exoskeleton allowing the mobility impaired and wheel chair bound freedom they never thought possible. The future of military technology is an exciting prospect. The question is that if every soldier is able to withstand extreme situations and explosions being nullified, will anyone die on the battlefield and if not would there end up being a global ceasefire? The research into emerging military technology has shown that there are numerous organisations attempting to develop the next weapon, armour or some other military use. Although this was not going to be a series Emerging military technology will remain topic that FourFront Reviews will research and bring to you from time to time. Until , knowledge is power.