Future Warfare – Crazy Tank Armor, Guided Bullets, Hovering Beer Keg Drones

Today I learned a new word: misoneism. It means hating change. Sometimes I hate the future. Today I can’t decide if the future is neat or horrendous, or most likely, both. Anyhow, there’s been some interesting stuff over at Danger Room:

Tank armor, and how to get past it. In the old days, tanks just had a crapload of heavy metal as armor. Then someone developed shaped charge warheads, which blow right through armor. So, in the 1980s, they developed reactive armor. Reactive armor means covering the tank with little explosive tiles (a little bit counter-intuitive, I know). These will blow up when they are struck, thus removing the threat of the shaped charge. So, anti-tank people (you know who you are) developed the tandem charge. The tandem charge (in this case, an RPG) shoots a single warhead with two charges: the first triggers the reactive armor, the second is the shaped charge. So the ante went up, and tank designers made sensors that detected incoming RPGs and shot out charges to meet them. It’s called an active defense system (or watch a video). Not to be outdone, Russia managed to make an RPG they call the abrams killer. (The M1 Abrams is the USA’s main tank). This little devil sends a tiny missile a split second ahead of the main missile. The defense systems blow up the tiny missile, but have a .2 second cooldown before they can defend again, so blammo, dead Americans. (Or Russians, or Israelis, or anyone else defending a tank with active defense).

Next up we have guided bullets, which don’t exist yet. They are intended to be the future of sniping. Oh, joy. Here’s something from those bastards at DARPA:

The use of an actively controlled bullet will make it possible to counter environmental effects such as crosswinds and air density, and prosecute both stationary and moving targets while enhancing shooter covertness. This capability would have the further benefit of providing increased accuracy and range while reducing training requirements.

Nice use of the word “prosecution.” Kind of a Judge Dredd sort of law it brings to mind. Anyhow, the pentagon passed out millions to Lockheed Martin and Teledyne Scientific & Imaging, LLC to develop this nastiness. In fact, here’s a pdf of the project’s goals. Note that this includes phone numbers and names and all of that of people who are behind this project (at least on the DARPA end). Glad we have freedom of information in this country, I gotta admit.

And finally, something I gotta admit is pretty cool, even if it is cool in the “robots will kill us all” kind of way. A flying remote control drone thingy that looks like a miniature beer keg. It hovers. It provides survelliance. Did I mention that it hovers?

All of this begs the question… why don’t we apply our grand scientific opposable-thumbs minds towards something useful? Every time you develop a better tank armor, someone is going to develop a better anti-tank weapon. This can only escalate, how have we not noticed? What about, oh, I don’t know, developing systems to feed, educate, and provide liberty for humanity? (And not in the “tanks provide liberty, team America fuck yeah” kind of way, but in the “let people have freedom and autonomy” kind of way).

Well, there’s a lot more money in bombs than in, oh, destroying the concept of money. A lot more power in the accumulation of power than the decentralization of power. Ramble, ramble, rant, rant.

Edit: at least we have jetpacks now.

One thought on “Future Warfare – Crazy Tank Armor, Guided Bullets, Hovering Beer Keg Drones”

  1. I used to work for a flight-simulation subsidiary of a multi-nat corp (also involved in weapons systems). We had a meeting where one of the execs from HQ in France was giving us all PowerPoint poisoning, yacking about the tremendous growth in the African market for simulation and training systems.
    “Hey great. Why don’t we sell them some food simulators, as well?”, I asked.
    There was this long awkward silence.

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