August 20, 2019
Latest News

Wars of the future: Lasers, microwave cannons and drones, lots of drones

Rafael Salido

Washington, Apr 25 (efe-epa).- High-precision lasers, microwave cannons and drones to evacuate wounded soldiers are just some of the projects that on Thursday took center stage at the "Spotlight Exhibit," an event at which the US Defense Department presents its latest advances.

As if it were a trade fair, dozens of displays were set up on the Pentagon's central courtyard to highlight some of the projects on which laboratories all around the world have been working in cooperation with the US Armed Forces.

Despite the military nature of the event, the majority of the projects stood out more for their technological minimalism than for their military elements, reflecting a military force that is ever more aware of the fact that in the future wars will likely be fought more with computer chips than with heavy weaponry.

"These are the systems we'll see in the future," engineer Robert Snead told EFE.

Snead is collaborating with the Army's Combat Capabilities Development Command to develop vehicles equipped with laser armament and capable of damaging or knocking out enemy armored vehicles.

The project will enable soldiers to open fire with high accuracy on targets located at great distances.

"Now, we're working with targets like small artillery pieces and all-terrain vehicles, elements that we cannot attack easily with the systems we currently have," said Snead, adding that some of this equipment is ready to be used in combat.

Another of the US military's big needs at this time is improving the operational capability of its vehicles, many of which may ultimately be uncrewed.

This is the case with the all-terrain vehicle on which Army Capt. Daniel Harder is working.

"It's like a remote controlled van. You can use it to transport materiel, you can use it as a military vehicle ... It's a multi-use platform," he told EFE.

Although it's still in the development stage, Harder said that - thanks to the participation of different branches of the Armed Forces - this tank-like vehicle can have an almost unlimited number of uses.

For the present, developers are testing its use as a missile-launching platform, a self-driving cargo vehicle and even a mobile heliport for uncrewed, mid-sized vehicles.

Something bigger, but also uncrewed, is the ARES, a large drone designed mainly to evacuate wounded soldiers from the front.

"There are occasions when our helicopters are too slow or don't get authorization to fly, so if we can use uncrewed vehicles, the wounded will have much greater chances of survival," Nathan Fisher, a scientist with the Army's Medical Research and Material Command, told EFE.

Fisher admitted that this method is not ideal, since "the wounded would not (be attended) by qualified personnel" during their evacuation journey, but he said that in any case it's a better scenario than keeping them on the front lines waiting for help that might not come in time to save them.

"Sometimes being able to get a wounded soldier to a hospital is the most important factor in the equation," he said.

In combat scenarios that are ever more dominated by uncrewed vehicles, one can imagine that having a tool to deal with such vehicles will be indispensable. Lt. James Wyner is working on exactly that.

The Air Force, Wyner told EFE, is moving forward with the Thor project, a "unique system" capable of "downing groups of drones."

"Basically, what is does is send out an expanding microwave radiation wave which destroys the electronic systems of the (enemy) devices and they then fall to the ground," he said.

This system, which needs to be transported in a kind of container equipped with an antenna and the action range of which is similar to a short-distance weapon, is in its final development stage and in September it will be put to the final test.

Besides these projects, the Defense Department also presented its latest advances in hypersonic technology, satellites, virtual reality goggles and low-cost underwater exploration devices.

All this is being displayed for a large number of high-ranking military personnel and to the fascinated gaze of a large number of children, who came to the Pentagon on Thursday on Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, thus transforming the military equipment fair into a real party.

News history
US congresswoman asks that US attach conditions to its economic aid to Israel

Washington DC, Aug. 19 (efe-epa).- Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) of the United States, one of the lawmakers who recently got barred from entering Israel,...

Twitter: China has mounted campaign to delegitimize Hong Kong protests

San Francisco, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- Twitter on Monday said that it had uncovered a coordinated effort by 936 accounts originating in China to delegitimize the...

Hong Kong government announces platform for dialogue amid protests

Hong Kong, Aug 20 (efe-epa).- Hong Kong's chief executive on Tuesday announced the immediate creation of a platform for dialogue involving people from all...

Bangladesh says its ready to start Rohingya repatriations

Dhaka, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- Bangladesh said Monday it would be ready to start the repatriation of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar on 22 August, nearly two years...

Focus is on Macri's goals, Argentina's incoming finance minister says

Buenos Aires, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- Incoming Argentine Finance Minister Hernan Lacunza said Monday that he could not discuss the details of his meeting with...

NYPD fires cop blamed for death of Eric Garner

New York, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- The head of the New York Police Department (NYPD) announced Monday the firing of Officer Daniel Pantaleo for his role in the...

Bardem: If 30 pct. of oceans not protected in 2030, damage to be irreversible

By Alvaro Celorio

The world is at work on a treaty to protect the oceans

United Nations, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- Countries of the United Nations set out this Monday to perfect an ambitious treaty to protect the biodiversity of the...

US gives China's Huawei another 90-day reprieve on sanctions

Washington, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Monday that the US government would give China's Huawei Technologies another 90-day...

Taliban marks 100 years of independence

Kabul, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- The Taliban on Monday marked its hundredth anniversary of independence from Afghanistan by reiterating that foreign troops are to...

NGO boat still awaiting safe port as tensions run high aboard

Rome, Aug 19 (epa-efe).- An NGO-operated rescue vessel with 107 migrants on board which has been stranded at sea for 18 days and has been repeatedly denied...

Pro-independence protests in Indonesia's Papua region turn violent

Jakarta, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- Pro-independence demonstrations took a violent turn in the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua Monday during protests...

Main corruption trial against former Malaysian prime minister postponed

Bangkok, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- A court in Malaysia on Monday postponed by a week the start of the trial against a former prime minister for his alleged role in...

China urges Trump to keep his word, allow business with Huawei in US

Beijing, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- Beijing on Monday urged Donald Trump to keep his word and allow companies in the United States to do business with Chinese tech...

8,000 evacuated due to wildfire in Gran Canaria

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- Some 8,000 people have been evacuated from several areas of Spain's Gran Canaria Islands due to a...

Trump acknowledges US' interest in buying Greenland from Denmark

Washington DC, Aug 18 (efe-epa).- The president of the United States on Sunday said that Greenland was strategically interesting for his country, although...

Trump defends China policy, says US economy is world's best

Washington, Aug 18 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump on Sunday defended his strategy versus China, on whose goods Washington has imposed heavy tariffs as...

Colombian ex-ministers: Peace is being fired upon from many angles

By Juliana Alejandra Franco and Ovidio Castro

Migrant rescue ship demands entry to Lampedusa

(Update 1: Adds details)

Open Arms continues stranded with 107 migrants on board

Madrid, Aug 18 (efe-epa).- The Spanish government has on Sunday offered the “Open Arms” migrant rescue vessel the possibility of docking at the southern...

Kashmir residents denounce high number of detentions in region

By Shah Abbas

An anti-government rally in Hong Kong

By Shirley Lau

Lacunza to be Argentina's new treasury minister as Dujovne quits

Buenos Aires, Aug 18 (efe-epa).- President Mauricio Macri said Sunday that Hernan Lacunza "is the right person" to replace former Finance Minister Nicolas...

Portland remains under strict police guard awaiting extremist demonstrations

Washington, Aug 17 (efe-epa).- The city of Portland, Oregon, remained this Saturday under strong police guard after far-right and left-wing extremist groups...

I agree Welcome to We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.