In 1957, the Soviet Union tested the world's first intercontinental ballistic missile. Its harmless payload, the beeping satellite Sputnik, flared bright across the night sky, a reminder to all the world of the missile that put it there. Sixty years later, North Korea is expected to be the fifth country to join that exclusive club, after the United States, China, and India. And while Kim Jong-un's totalitarian state is quiet about the developments, there's enough information available to the public that the question for 2017 isn't will North Korea test a missile, but when?
In both Beijing and Washington D.C., nuclear weapons and their delivery systems have become particularly big news lately. In China, the DF-41 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) is already driving in the streets of Manchuria. Stateside, President Trump has just received a briefing at the Pentagon on America's nuclear plans.
For over 6 years, Huang Wenhua and his team at the Northwest Institute of Nuclear Technology in Xi'an have been working on a potent microwave weapon. This one, which recently won China's National Science and Technology Progress Award, is small enough to fit on a lab work bench, making it theoretically portable enough for land vehicles and aircraft.
The next time the U.S. Army rolls into battle, it may do so with lasers mounted on the tops of the trucks carrying its soldiers. The lasers will protect the troops inside the armored, IED-resistant Stryker transports from drones, mortars, and other artillery. According to the director of strategic planning for General Dynamics Land Systems, this laser weapon could be ready as early as next year.