Post-9/11 Technology Brings Exoskeletons, Laser Cannons to 21st-Century U.S. Military [Slide Show]
The U.S. Department of Defense keeps seeking and developing advantages for today's unconventional warfare, ranging from Iron Man-like body suits to smart grenade launchers
Credits: COURTESY OF LOCKHEED MARTIN
SATELLITE-GIUDED PARACHUTE: A 4,536-kilogram payload is dropped from a Lockheed C-130 Hercules turboprop military transport aircraft at 7,620 meters over Yuma Proving Grounds, Ariz. The load is guided by the Joint Precision Airdrop System (JPADS), designed to provide accurate delivery of supplies from high altitudes while also protecting an aircraft and its crew.
COURTESY OF U.S. AIR FORCE
SMART GRENADE LAUNCHER: A shoulder-fired XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement (CDTE) System is tested at Aberdeen Test Center, Md. It features an array of sights, sensors and lasers housed in a target acquisition fire control unit on top, an oversized magazine behind the trigger mechanism, and a short barrel wrapped by a recoil dampening sleeve.
COURTESY OF U.S. ARMY
GUIDED MULTIPLE LAUNCH ROCKET SYSTEMS (GMLRS): Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) have been in development for much longer than a decade, but they have matured since 9/11, particularly in terms of accuracy.
COURTESY OF U.S. ARMY
ELECTRONIC WARFARE: A $67 million U.S. Navy Boeing EA-18G Growler test and evaluation squadron VX-31 flies over Ridgecrest, Calif., in July 2009. The Growler is configured with three ALQ-99 airborne integrated jammer pods and two external fuel tanks. The system is capable of intercepting, automatically processing and jamming received radio frequency signals.
COURTESY OF U.S. NAVY NAVAL AIR WARFARE CENTER, WEAPONS DIVISION (NAWCWD), CMDR. IAN C. ANDERSON, USN Advertisement
PACK ROBOT: The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Tactical Technology Office and the U.S. Marine Corps awarded Boston Dynamics a 30-month, $32-million contract last year to deliver a prototype Legged Squad Support System (LS3). At the end of the contract the company is expected to deliver two prototype LS3s that can carry the required weight (181 kilograms) a required distance (at least 32 kilometers) without refueling across a relatively flat surface.
COURTESY OF BOSTON DYNAMICS
HUMAN UNIVERSAL LOAD CARRIER (HULC) EXOSKELETON: Lockheed Martin's HULC (seen here with an upper-body Lift Assist Device) is a lower-body, electro-hydraulically powered exoskeleton designed to lift and carry heavy loads. It transfers weight through the machine's frame to the ground to reduce operator fatigue and exposure to injury. Lift Assist, mounted on the back of the HULC exoskeleton, enables the wearer to lift up to about 70 kilograms (pdf).
COURTESY OF LOCKHEED MARTIN
BODY ARMOR: U.S. Army soldiers favor Interceptor bullet-proof vests (
left), whereas British Armed Forces stationed in the Middle East use body armor rigs such as the Osprey. COURTESY OF REIMELT/COLININGRAD, VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
ACTIVE DENIAL SYSTEM: Military contractors such as Raytheon Raytheon are developing active denial systems that emit a focused beam of microwave energy that travels at the speed of light, heating the water in a person's outer layers of skin and producing an intense burning sensation designed to stop crowds or combatants in their tracks without killing them.
COURTESY OF THE U.S. AIR FORCE Advertisement Advertisement