Apart from America’s nuclear arsenal, the 10 active aircraft carriers of the U.S. Navy are the most powerful single units of military might in the world. While the combined ranges of ships and planes mean carriers can place bombs on most of the Earth’s surface, the ships are still limited to operating in water. Air, however, covers all of the earth, and a new request from DARPA wants to bring carriers to anywhere there’s sky.
The Navy already has robotic boats of a sort. In August, they demonstrated swarms of boats, all converted to remote control, some even with degrees of autonomy, in a test on the James River. The converted boats were mostly patrol craft, designed for small human crews. UISS, instead, will be a specially made craft, designed to coax sea mines into exploding before larger ships arrive.
As police from Germany and Australia will tell you, 3D printed guns are likely to be as fatal to the person firing as they are to anyone else. This is true primarily for poorly made 3D printed guns using weaker plastics that can't absorb the explosive shock from the gun blast. Without specially designed ammunition, the stress of firing rounds risks exploding the gun -- and injuring the person holding it.
In the tense moments of a long-range gun battle, unnecessary movements can give away a combatant's position, cause them to lose sight of the enemy, and possibly lead to fatalities. For America’s special forces, Sandia National Laboratories has developed a new sniper scope that, with the press of a button, adjusts focus. Called Rapid Adaptive Zoom for Assault Rifles (RAZAR), the lens has immediate uses on the battlefield, but in the future, it might just be a birdwatcher's best friend.
Sikorsky’s S-97 Raider looks like the future. Not the distant future -- not the “Star Trek” future -- but a closer, more attainable future. Its design is based primarily on Sikorsky's X-2 project, and as the name implies, this isn’t just the future of helicopters. This is the future of helicopters at war.
When Theodore Roosevelt wanted to tell the world that the United States had arrived as a major naval power in 1907, he sent the Great White Fleet around the globe, in a symbol as conspicuous as possible. Today, India is in the midst of naval expansion, and for their fleet, they want the exact opposite of conspicuous. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (India’s DARPA) says all naval ships of the future will have stealth features.
Over the past century, Australia has quietly participated in more major wars than expected. From a disastrous assault on the Ottoman-held Gallipoli in World War I to fighting alongside British forces in World War II and Korea, as well as fighting alongside American forces in Vietnam and participating in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Australia’s military was present in many major 20th and 21st century conflicts. Only 12 countries spend more than Australia on defense, and this year, some of that money is going towards a new armored vehicle.