Technology is simplifying and streamlining human tasks. Whether in the home, office or on the factory floor; smart machines, artificial intelligence, drones, and robots are doing the things that you, I and the guy next door used to do.
Now, trillions of dollars are being spent on the design and development of deadly accurate and suitable stealthy futurist weapons of war.
If you’re an online poker player, you’ll appreciate that sometimes you have to bluff your opponent and other times you have to show your hand. That appears to be the philosophy behind the development of some of the most creative high-tech weapons, shields, armaments and battlefield accessories the world has ever known.
Here are five futuristic weapons that are transforming the way the world wages war:
BAE Systems has come up with a cunning method of disguising and shielding large armoured vehicles from detection and attack. The system, known as ADAPTIV Camouflage, comprises a series of interlocking modules or honeycomb-shaped puzzle pieces that are fitted to the flanks of a vehicle.
The modules are made of electrical elements that can rapidly be heated and cooled from a remote central control. With just a few taps of the keyboard, the vehicle can quickly adapt and mimic the ambient temperature of the surrounding area and – in so doing – evade the enemy’s thermal imaging system.
Aside from modifying the vehicle’s infrared signature, the system can change the actual shape of the vehicle to create an illusion of something else altogether. All it takes is for images stored in a centralised image bank to be projected onto the panels. That way, tanks can be transformed into civilian cars, battleships into waves and fighter jets into clouds! How cool is that?
Computer-Controlled Assault Rifles
Next generation infantry weapons are designed to be smart, accurate and lightweight. They are fitted with a sophisticated ballistic computer and sensors capable of calculating all the environmental conditions that have traditionally impacted shooting accuracy on the battlefield.
Along with a cutting-edge digital fire control system, these innovative machine guns and assault rifles have the innate capabilities to automatically detect distance, wind speed, and other factors. By using this information, the computer can project modified target points onto the soldier’s field of vision.
One of the standout benefits of these weapons is soldiers now have the ability to shoot accurately without a direct line of sight. That means they can effectively point their weapons around corners or over walls, rocks, and other obstacles and aim accurately via a wireless link without exposing themselves to danger.
Russian arms developer Kalashnikov has recently launched a self-destructing drone capable of carrying an explosive charge weighing up to three kilograms. The mechanical assassin is designed to evade enemy air defence systems and is fitted with a target recognition system.
At 120 cm wide, 94 cm long and 16 cm high, the unmanned explosive device is programmed to crash into its target, much like Japan’s notorious Kamikaze pilots of World War II. The drone can identify its target in one of two ways; via pre-programmed co-ordinates or an image uploaded to the control system.
Accurate and effective at both high and low altitudes and with a top speed of 130 kph and 30 minutes of flying time, these killer drones have the potential to take out large enemy targets located some distance away.
Soldiers are expected to carry heavy loads over long distances. In extreme conditions, this can and does affect their ability to fight. Developers have used a field of robotics called cybernetics to solve the problem. They’ve come up with what is referred to as the HULC or the Human Universal Load Carrier.
The HULC is a hydraulic powered titanium exoskeleton that is fitted to soldiers to support them in the battlefield. A built-in micro-computer synergises the exoskeleton with the soldier’s movement so that it does not affect the wearer’s natural mobility.
Capable of supporting loads of up to 90 kg over extended distances and with a modular design, the HULC can integrate with mobility assistance systems and situational awareness gear. With the help of technology, developers have finally created a part human, part cyborg that can crawl, squat and lift while carrying incredibly heavy and bulky weapons and equipment.
Smart Pistols and Semi-Automatic Handguns
German company Armatix has come up with the smart handgun. The first in the series, the .22 calibre IP1 pistol is paired with a wristwatch that contains a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip. What makes the gun smart is that you can only operate it if you are wearing the RFID wristwatch on your shooting hand.
The watch is the key that enables the gun to fire. It is also a data storage unit that collects and stores relevant information about the gun, such as charge levels and shots fired. Additional features include PIN code management for weapon activation, time-controlled weapon deactivation and a target response system that automatically disables the weapon when you are aiming away from a target.
The more recent IP9 9mm semi-automatic pistol features a new user recognition system. To activate the pistol, you have to squeeze the grip in a pre-programmed sequence or it simply won’t fire. The idea is to maximise gun safety by ensuring that criminals and other unauthorised users cannot turn your own firearm against you.