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Military Robots and the Laws of War
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These are the 19 most game-changing weapons of the 21st century
In an era where large, set-piece battles between armies and traditional battlefield tactics may be a thing of the past, this may be the kind of the military edge that ends up counting the most. Both China and the US have developed nonlethal "heat rays" that cause extreme pain and can aid in crowd control. The general idea behind the weapons is to heat the water just below the surface of a person's skin to induce pain, causing the target to flee without inflicting death or incapacitation.
The Chinese heat ray can target individuals at up to feet away. When connected to an extra power source, the beam can hit targets at distances of 0. The US version of the heat ray, known as the Active Denial System ADS , had a range of 3, feet and could raise the temperature of a target's skin by degrees.
However, the ADS was recalled by the US military without ever having been used over questions of its ethical application. Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance EXACTO are bullets that can change their path during flight to correct for the movement of a target or any other factors that might have driven the projectile off-course. The bullets feature optical tips that can detect guidance lasers focused on a target.
Tiny fins then guide the bullet towards that laser. The Pentagon successfully conducted a live-fire test utilizing these rounds in early If deployed, these rounds could drastically improve the accuracy of US infantry forces. The weapons would also help reduce the risks of friendly-fire incidents or of stray bullets harming civilians. This isn't a weapon — but it's still a game changer. The box-like thermal container preserved red blood cells at a temperature that would prevent donor blood from dying under harsh environmental conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan — all without having to use electricity, batteries, or ice to moderate the blood's temperature.
If soldiers were injured on the battlefield, there would be life-saving donor blood immediately on hand in small and easily portable containers that require no actual energy input. This allowed medics to perform transfusions quickly and efficiently when soldiers' lives were most at risk. The container shows that not every major battlefield development is weapons related, and it demonstrates just how far technology has come in saving soldiers' lives.
Every era of modern warfare has had weapons that closed the gap between powerful state militaries and nonstate militant groups. During the Cold War, rebel groups around the world used the cheap and plentiful AK to defeat far larger armies. The roadside bomb is how insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan bogged down a far larger and more powerful US military. Camouflaged "improvised explosive devices," often hidden in cars or potholes, could be detonated using cell phones.
They could also be built quickly and covertly, and without a huge amount of engineering expertise. The bombs prevented the US from winning in both countries through conventional means, leading to technological developments like the MRAP and a shift to counterinsurgency strategy in both wars.
IEDs have arguably transformed the US military and its mission like no other modern weapon.
Roadside bombs showed how in the 21st century, it's still possible for a small and technologically primitive military force to wreak havoc on a larger and infinitely better-equipped one. The US was in huge trouble in Iraq in The American-led mission was losing ground to a growing insurgency led by Al Qaeda elements. And the US was suffering painful losses from improvised explosive devices that would rip through even heavily armored vehicles. Insurgents were setting bombs that detonated under American personnel carriers that weren't built to withstand the insurgents' weaponry.
The heavily armored MRAP was designed, developed, and built in a matter of months to counter the US' biggest operational challenge in Iraq. By over 21, of them were in service. And it provided the US and its allies with a vehicle that could operate in a new, challenging combat environment.
Compared to the standard two-tube goggles, which Bissonnette says are similar to binoculars, the four-tube model gives soldiers a greatly expanded field of view. Developed by Juliet Marine Systems, the Ghost could become the small military craft of the future. Propped on two blade-like pontoons, the Ghost cuts through the water while maintaining enhanced balance. The design allows the ship to reduce friction and increases its stability. The ship has also been designed for maximum stealth. It is nonmagnetic and hard to detect via sonar, making it ideal for infiltration and surveillance of enemy waters.
The Ghost can also deploy a range of offensive weapons that are similar to what an attack helicopter would carry.
The vessel can be equipped with Gatling guns, Griffin missiles, and rockets launched either from its hull or from the craft's skin.