This will not be the first time I make a top 10 list for future weapons. Initially it was created in 2007 and now has been updated slightly. Plus with an animated voice-over video!
As always, let’s hope that none of these weapons be used, ever.
1 – The Iron Dome Force Field
The Iron Dome is a top-secret defense weapon that works like a futuristic force field. It’s a mobile air defense system designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells. Thought to be strictly science fiction, it is now very real. This invisible force can break up threats like a rocket-propelled grenade or RPG. And it is already being used in current conflicts.
It is designed to be mounted on a fighting vehicle and provide a virtual bubble of protection using radar. The system may also be static and protect an entire city or area from incoming rounds. It detects when an explosive round like an RPG or a rocket is fired, when the threat is in range the system uses a top-secret countermeasure which hits directly the head of the projectile. After hitting the head the threat is neutralized and not effective anymore. The ennemy projectile can still hit the vehicle by kinetic energy however it is no longer an explosive threat. The Iron Dome does not protect against I E D’s or landmines all it does is eliminate the explosive capability of a threat flying at the vehicle or target and take away its ability to penetrate armour. It is not designed to protect ships from torpedoes.
This system can also be outfitted to protect helicopters from explosive rounds. Prior to the design of the Iron Dome system the only defense soldiers had against rockets was heavier armor.
2 – Advanced Rifles
Two of the most advanced rifles which are currently in use are the Phaser Weapon and the XM29.
The Phaser Weapon also called the personnel halting and stimulation response rifle is a non-lethal laser dazzler developed by the Air Force. Its purpose is to temporarily disorient and blind a target. Blinding laser weapons have been tested in the past, but were banned under the United Nations protocols. This new weapon has a blinding effect but it is intended to be temporary.
Its name is likely derived from the fictional “Phaser” of Star Trek lore, which is known for being depicted as an easily portable directed-energy weapon which has a lethal mode and a mode that can strike living targets with non-lethal temporarily incapacitating effects; this is often accompanied by the on-screen dialogue, “Set phasers to stun.”. We now officially have a phaser that can be set to stun.
The second advanced rifle is the XM29 which is part of the future combat system. It’s bullets can be fired around corners, travel a pre-determined distance, and explode. The XM29 locks on target using a laser range finder with day and night optics. The bullets are programmed to travel a certain distance based on the information from the laser and explode right on time. The bullets are also designed to explode downward so that the ennemies hiding in a trench can still be fired upon.
3 – Laser Guided Bullets
It’s not a new technology to have laser guided bombs, weapons that can destroy targets with a high degree of accuracy. As technology keeps on improving, there is now a laser guided bullet. The 50 caliber sniper bullet may be guided into its target far away with a high degree of accuracy. All the user needs to do is keep the laser on the target and fire the shot, the bullet will adjust it’s trajectory. During tests the bullets were shot deliberately off target and the bullets changed direction in mid-air to strike the objective. Adding to that; the weapon’s ability to read weather patterns, wind speeds and atmospheric pressure it sure seems that becoming an elite sniper has become much easier.
4 – Adaptive Cloaking
This is an active camouflage technology developed to protect military vehicles from being detected by infrared cameras, providing infrared stealth. It consists of an array of hexagonal plates which may be rapidly heated and cooled to form any desired image, the image is formed to be seen only by infrared cameras. Its goal is to develop stealth to ground vehicles. For example a tank covered in these plates can mimic the environmental temperature around it, making the tank blend into its surroundings. Or by heating and cooling specific plates, a tank can also be made to look like it has the same infrared signature of a regular car or of an enemy vehicle.
5 – Enhanced Soldiers
Soldiering has changed over the years. During World War 2, only 20% of soldiers fired their weapon, the rest chose not to fire or deliberately miss their target in fear of killing someone. Today, thanks to training, psychological conditioning and simulated video training almost 100% of soldiers fire on their target. Military scientists are now altering the human body, biologically and chemically for better performance on the battlefield. Our technologies are increasingly aimed inward at modifying our minds, our memories, our metabolisms, our personalities and our kits, we are beginning to change what it means to be human. One scientist working on such projects once said: “our measure of success is that the Olympic Committee bans everything we do”. The research goals were to increase alertness, cognitive power and to end the need to sleep. When it comes to cognition enhancement there is a drug called Modafinil which allows helicopter pilots to fly in combat for 40 hours and be as functional as somebody who was well rested. Another drug called Propranolol could protect soldiers from the emotional toll of war. It can be given as preventative measure to reduce the chance of soldiers getting PTSD and reduce their ability to make moral judgements
The modern soldiers will also benefit from advanced exoskeletons which would allow soldiers to carry heavy loads for long periods of time. Extending the soldier’s ability not only with chemical enhancement but mechanical enhancements as well.
An additional focus of research is a mind to mind communication system, a brain computer interface such as Tesla’s Neuralink. Military scientists are also doing research in the human digestive system to see if soldiers could live off war zone foliage, trees, grass and bark. This enhancement would mean that soldiers would not need to carry food rations. Some of this research eventually trickles down to retail consumers. For example Tiger Wood’s laser eye surgery allowed him to have more than 20-20 vision, it was thanks to soldier enhancement research. You can only imagine what the real top secret research programs have at their disposal and what they allow to leak into consumer markets.
6 – Direct Energy Weapons
A direct energy weapon is a ranged weapon that damages its target with highly focused energy, including laser, microwaves and particle beams. Current applications of this technology include weapons that target personnel, missiles, vehicles, and optical devices.
Imagine an aircraft equipped with a laser system with the capability to neutralize a threat at the speed of light and the precision of a surgical scalpel. The systems is also capable of dealing with multiple threats at once.
In addition, this technology is also being developed to be used as a rifle for one on one combat. Those rifles are called Electrolasers. An electrolaser is a type of electroshock weapon which uses lasers to form a channel upon which an electric charge can travel. A fraction of a second later, a powerful electric current is sent down this laser channel and delivered to the target. This weapon may be used to stun, to kill or to disable enemy electronic devices, more specifically drones.
We have seen so many movies where lasers are being used as weapons, this is certainly a case where science fiction has inspired reality.
7 – Robot Soldiers
Under the robot soldier umbrella we could include unmanned vehicles or drones, which are now the future of warfare. For example drones can now be used in swarms to operate in packs and attack enemy lines. But let’s focus on two particular machines, the ATLAS and the robot called SPOT.
ATLAS is a bipedal humanoid robot primarily developed by the U.S government agencies. The robot is designed for a variety of search and rescue tasks. Atlas is designed to operate both outdoors and inside buildings. It is specialized for mobile manipulation and is very adept at walking over a wide range of terrain, including snow, and can do back flips, cartwheels and running. It is electrically powered and hydraulically actuated. It uses sensors in its body and legs to balance, and it uses LIDAR and stereo sensors in its head to avoid obstacles, assess the terrain, help with navigation, and manipulate objects, even when the objects are being moved. The military usage for ATLAS has not yet being made public but as you can imagine the applications are immense. Having a two-legged robot walking beside troups that can carry heavy loads, carry bombs and take on fire or provide a shield for soldiers can be an advantage on the battlefield.
Similarly to ATLAS, the SPOT is a four-legged robot designed by the US military. This robot can carry 400 pounds of gear and travers nearly any type of terrain in any weather. The SPOT does not require an operator and can move along troups on its own thanks to cameras and sensors. This robot is capable of working over 20 miles and over 24 hours before requireing a recharge.
8 – Micro Air Vehicles
Military engineers have designed very tiny aircrafts, micro air vehicles which can mimic an insect or a bird. With these vehicles the army is able to do surveillance in a much more subtle way. These micro machines can also be used as a direct weapon or to deliver poison to the unsuspecting enemy.
Traditionally the military has been focusing on large aircraft drones that are unmanned but the future might just allow us to see more efficient and stealthier drones. With the advancements in batteries such as the nano-diamond batteries which can hold a charge for years, these micro vehicles will see a bright future.
9 – Electromagnetic Cannons
Bullets that are fired using electromagnetic energy will do a lot of damage. One of the cannons which uses electromagnetic firing is called The Rail Gun. The US Military’s most powerful cannon which can shoot up to 100 nautical miles at mach 7.5 and impacting the target at mach 5, using only energy as it’s propellant.
The high-velocity projectile will destroy land, sea, and air purely from it’s kinetic energy, rather than with conventional explosive warheads.
The Rail Gun launcher is a long-range weapon that fires projectiles using electricity instead of chemical propellants like gunpowder. Magnetic fields created by high electrical currents accelerate a sliding conductor between two rails to launch projectiles at 4500 miles per hour. Basically it launches projectiles with high velocity to high distances and damages targets usign kinetic energy and not explosives.
Another similar gun is called the Metal Storm which is smaller but can fire a million rounds per minute.
The gun that fires these bullets has no trigger, no hammer or breach block, the only moving parts are the bullets, thousands of them a second. This technology allows the stacking of multiple projectiles into a single tube, and electronically fired one at a time from front to rear. The rate of fire is controlled by a computer, therefore the rate can be from one round to over a million rounds per minute. Today’s fastest mechanical weapon system can only fire at about 6000 rounds a minute.
10 – The SR-72 Aircraft
The last item on our list has not been officially released yet, it is still a very secretive project, a spy plane. Lockheed Martin has confirmed that it is developing the SR-72 spy plane. The SR-72 will be a hypersonic unmanned aircraft capable of Mach 6, or just over 4,500 mph (7,240 kilometers per hour). At hypersonic speeds, the SR-72 will be able to traverse any continent in around an hour. This means that, if they’re strategically positioned around the world on aircraft carriers, the US military can strike or surveil any location on Earth in about an hour. It is also suspected that the SR-72’s hypersonic engine which may be some kind of hybrid scramjet, will find its way into the US military’s High Speed Strike Weapon (HSSW), a missile that can theoretically strike anywhere on Earth in just a few minutes.
The development of this aircraft was started a few years ago, therefore we should see this marvel of technology in the skies very shortly. If of course it isn’t already, secretly flying over you.