Tag Archives: Military

The future of warfare is Here!

DARPA-Drone
DARPA-Drone

War has become the greatest instigator for the advancement of science in this the 21st Century. Developments as diverse and far-reaching as space travel, superglue, duct tape and microwaves owe their origins to inovations of the Military Industrial Complex and its advancement into the domestic landscape.
Soldiers will be trained in simulated theaters of war via virtual reality
Their bodies augmented with self-healing armor and smart suits
Armed with guns that fire bullets that change course on in situ to its target
Supported by micro-drones allowing combatants to explore battlefields from a distance

Soldiers can now explore war time scenarios, through the use of

Military Applications for Virtual Reality
Military Applications for Virtual Reality

head-mounted displays (HMD) or VR glasses such as Oculus Rift. Simulations include the administering of first aid to wounded comrades while under enemy fire, in a realistic 360-degree 3D environments that change view with the movement of the head and the body, by an in built tracking system. Troops are also training with integrated feedback that administers a small electric shock when the soldier gets ‘shot’.
The US Department of Defense is so committed to the project it wants every soldier to have a customised virtual avatar modified to reflect their individual skills and weaknesses.
Military Grade Super suits or exo skeletons are also now a reality. These toughened outer scafolds are inspired by the hardened shells of the insect world and involve a frame of hydraulics which amplify the leg and arm movements of the wearer, allowing them to take more effortless strides and carry greater weights. This made lifting 25lb (11kg) loads as easy for the wearer as lifting 1lb (0.5kg), and had force feedback – similar to a XBox or PlayStation controller – so the operator could get an idea of the resistance that the soldier was

Military Insect Drone
Military Insect Drone

experiencing.
While many current exoskeleton projects have medical uses in mind, XOS and XOS 2, developed for the US Army by Raytheon-Sarcos, Hercule by firm RB3D, and Human Universal Load Carrier, better known by its acronym HULC, are primarily military. As with the Hulc developed by Ekso Bionics and Lockheed Martin, is a lower extremity exoskeleton powered by a lithium-ion battery that works to redistribute the weight across the hips and legs, allowing its operator to comfortably carry 200lbs (91kg) with less effort.
Far more flexible than earlier exoskeletons, sensors mounted throughout Hulc’s titanium frame and linked to an on-board microcomputer spur electric motors into action allowing the limbs to match the operator’s movements. Lockheed’s ambitions is that the system will allow for troops to be equipped with otherwise back-breakingly heavy sensor gear or – as Hulc offers no physical protection in itself – the sort of body armor that simply impractical for a soldier on foot to carry.

HULC_Exo-skeleton
HULC_Exo-skeleton

‘The basic problem with exoskeletons still is you need about ten kilowatts of power to run a typical load-bearing, armor-protected exo-skeleton.The Soldier needs to be able to run it for ten hours to make it mission capable because if the power runs out, an exoskeleton becomes a massive impediment to ability rather than a bonus. Concurrently Lockheed is investigating electro-chemical and solid oxide fuel cells to solve this problem, of developing a ‘long-range HLC’ with a 72-hour battery life and bursts of speed up to 10mph (16 km) per hour.
Meanwhile, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) is testing Warrior Web – a wetsuit-like ‘soft exosuit’ designed to be worn under the soldier’s uniform to provide leg and joint support on only 100 watts of power. Alternatively Warrior Web Replaces the titanium frame of battery-sapping hydraulics, with computer-controlled textiles and wires that provide orthopaedic support as well as powered robotic systems in the legs reducing fatigue.

Raytheon-XOS-2-Exoskeleton
Raytheon-XOS-2-Exoskeleton

Also being developed is Armour augmentation. There are ongoing experiments in liquid armor, for example, which harden on impact but remain flexible enough to allow the soldier free movement, and nanotechnology, which allows materials to be manipulated at atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale. In a liquid armor body system liquid hardens on impact in its products. The liquid is called Shear-Thickening Fluid (STF), and instantly hardens upon impact at any temperature, this provides protection from penetration by high-speed projectiles and additionally dispersing energy over a larger area.
Weaponised Nano-technology. In Engineering products to a nano-scale you can create vastly more resistant and strong materials, because they don’t have any imperfections and you can design a lattice structure instead of having to either kiln something or cast something. Carbon fibre-infused ceramics can effectively be developed at a nano-scale using these principles. A perfect lattice structure can be built resulting in a seamless integration between materials so it’s more stronger than something that’s made using more typical engineering methods.
Called Exacto The US military successfully tested a .50-caliber

Exacto: The Bullet that Never Misses
Exacto: The Bullet that Never Misses

sniper round that can alter its course mid-flight on its way to its target, changing direction in mid-air in response to a target’s movements. In response for military snipers, acquiring moving targets in unfavourable conditions, such as high winds and dusty terrain commonly found in Afghanistan, is extremely challenging with current technology, Darpa has developed the first ever guided small caliber bullet.
The main focus of these super soldier weapons systems for standard infantry is going to be an array of sensors. For example combinations of thermal and infrared vision aids for night vision. At the moment soldiers tend to use infrared, your standard green night vision to see and move around, but when they’re actually engaging targets at night, they use a thermal.

With the advancement of technology and the escalating trend

Sergeant Scott Weaver, of The Queens Royal Lancers launches a Black Hornet, Nano UAV
Sergeant Scott Weaver, of The Queens Royal Lancers launches a Black Hornet, Nano UAV

toward smaller highly specialised armies , soldiers soldiers will have to rely more on machines rather than man-power for backup. Technology like the microdrone called a Switchblade, which can be carried in a backpack. Carried in a tube, it is launched in the field and with the use of a set of first person-view goggles the operator can see what it sees. Equipped with a grenade sized warhead this sort of smart microdrone technology may be the only back-up a soldier may need in the field.
While a soldier’s ability to scan, transmit and receive more detailed information on the battlefield will increase, The potential disruption caused by hacking and jamming technology will also ensure that this reliance on technology will also become its greatest weakness. In the field the technology offers greater capability for soldiers to connect, link up, with for example, helicopters that are coming to give them support, or fast jets or vehicles in order to increase their situational awareness. This can increase the effectiveness of operations but it must be weighed against the fact that you can’t rely on electronics, particularly networked electronics that can be hacked and is susceptible to crash .

Shape Memory And Iron Palladium Alloys

D.A.R.P.A logo

In a highly ambitious materials development study commissioned by The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), experiments conducted by materials scientists for the American military are successfully creating metals that can not only change shape upon the application of an energy field, but can autonomously ‘self-actuate’, producing intelligent alloys that have their own memory and motion capabilities.

DARPA identifies the research as the Development of Compact Hybrid Actuators based on Ferromagnetic Poly-crystal (Fe-Pd) material, & describes the product as “a robust compact actuator based on polycrystalline ferromagnetic shape memory alloy (FSMA) materials.“ Other possible smart materials technologies being explored for integration into military systems include shape memory alloys, piezoelectric actuators, magneto-rheological fluids and solids, self-healing polymers and coatings.

The goal is to develop and exhibit workable composite materials and processes to sustain the manufacture of multiple military morphing applications. The Military intends to develop a template prototype for improved function in vehicle bodies ready for integration with their existing hardware for operational use. In the process, DARPA are applying a specialized catalogue of smart materials technologies, such as shape memory polymers, self-actuating composites, and dynamic syntactic foams. They also employ smart materials, engineering design, fabrication, and other supporting technologies to meet the goals and requirements of the military industrial complex.

Called Iron-Palladium alloys, these metals possess super-elasticity & shape-shifting capabilities, augmented further by the integration of more ‘intelligent’

Nokia Shape memory phone

components into the alloy, allows it to generate its own energy field to reshape. The metal itself incorporates an ‘electromagnetic driving unit’ and a ‘position sensor with a central unit.’ The Fe-Pd spring actuator is just 15cm in length by a diameter of 3 cm, yet this spring will become an intelligent autonomous machine with a remarkable tensile strength for its own ‘shape memory’.

Optimized for best performance around one operating point & similar in architecture to biological systems, these new actuators are like individual elements arranged in parallel-series assemblies, but use very different building blocks. Upon the generation of an electric current or magnetic field these alloys will, with no moving parts, change shape & rapidly. They are termed ‘compact hybrid actuators’, or ‘living metals’ & are designed to mimic living systems in their versatility and dynamism through the integration of advanced nano-technologies. DARPA’s smart structures engineering team are focused on integrating multiple smart material technologies with conventional actuation mechanisms, and on developing realistic morphing structure concepts for theatre applications. The research will help define near-term morphing abilities, help identify the next enabling materials technologies necessary to round out structural morphing composites, and predict the exponential growth of morphing capabilities.

Shape memory car

With the use of combustible fuel sources, the small elements comprising the actuation system achieve high power and energy density, allowing efficient energy conversion via oscillatory and resonant processes. Rather than by valves or power transistors, the power produced is modulated at the individual element level, providing effective efficient power output with less input. Mass production methods via a use of modular architecture where many similar or identical elements are used, allows cost effective manufacture as well as economies of scale. This approach, characterized by the use of many elements systematically interconnected in terms of structure, physical effort, and information is termed Organismic Systems by the scientific community & incorporates the basic principles of nano-technology.

These metals built at the molecular level are essentially machines with complex internal systems & structures that mimic organic ones. The metal alloy actuators are essentially autonomous, the nano-machines incorporated into the metal alloys utilize energy sources at the ‘individual’ level & assign the material characteristics generally attributed to extraterrestrial craft. There are many magnetic anomalies reported by witnesses and researchers that ascribe certain attributes to this material, that have a connection with UFO technology. and a correlation between changing form and magnetic field effects appears to be an important consideration.

Shape memory wing foil

Their potential application for the U.S. military has driven them to funding a variety of related research programs exploring the full range of options proposed by private-sector aerospace consortiums including Boeing, M.I.T., Moog and Lockheed Martin in conjunction with several university departments in receipt of grants from the U.S. Military. The entire project is endorsed by the US Army Research Office, the Office Of Naval Research, NASA Langley Research Center, & the Space Operations Vehicle Technology Office, AFRL/VAS at Wright Patterson AFB.

Some of the projects being explored include: the research & development of assault vehicles with self-repairing armored shells that react like living organisms with noise cancellation capabilities to ‘cloak’ them on an auditory level; in-flight navigation, guidance and control systems for smart bombs that lie dormant, that can identify a target through face recognition; shape-changing bombers that transform into jet fighters, including morphing aeroforms in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and fighter aircraft; advanced optical systems for satellite technology, as well as sonar-absorbing materials for submarines with respect to the sonar deductibility of torpedoes; & ‘exo-skeletons’ incorporating neural transmission technologies between the soldier’s brain waves and his living metal smart skin.

The power to drive the actuators is portable, and could be worn like a back-pack by soldiers. Like ‘nano-technology’ designed at a molecular level, the intelligent ‘biological’ actuators have purpose-built machines within them. Placed in the context of brain implants that can pick up neurological information directly, this information could then readily be transferred to the ‘morphing metal’ interface that will be capable of adapting to the complex commands delivered by the brain. other applications include the development of prosthetic limbs made of these alloys that receive direct instruction from the wearer’s brain, & behave like real limbs & muscles.

Nitinol invented by metallurgist William Buehler

Highly specialized privatized materials research companies, commissioned to develop this technology, in their design and engineering efforts will focus on integrating new adaptive materials technologies into standard composite armatures. CRG are developing a preliminary prototype design of an adaptive wing structure. By establishing a processing approach to fabrication, validating these fabrication processes to demonstrate a working segment of a morphing wing to prove feasibility, the company hopes to have a working integrated system of manufacture by project’s end. Design considerations for the adaptive wing include wing mass, primary structure, leading and trailing edges, airfoil balance, seamless skin, internal structure, actuation mechanisms, and environmental stability.

Aurora X-plane

These programs will establish the technology necessary to assemble deployable morphing aircraft and other innovative adaptive structure concepts vital to maintain military advantage. In addition to enhancing the aerospace industry’s system platform capabilities, this technology will also enhance the ability to broaden their system capabilities for multiple Department of Defense (DOD) applications planned in the near and far term. This advancement will improve performance for other current or future applications. The development of this technology from prototype to integration and manufacturing will demonstrate the superiority of the Military in the fields of research, development and materials innovation, as well as maintain funding.