We have all the best toys, Infantry edition

December 1, 2010

For thousands of years, soldiers have known that taking cover is a good idea: the enemy might not see you or, at the very least, the cover would make you harder to hurt. Those have been the rules since before the first cities had been built.

That is, until the US Army decided to rewrite the rules:

It looks and acts like something best left in the hands of Sylvester Stallone’s “Rambo,” but this latest dream weapon is real — and the US Army sees it becoming the Taliban’s worst nightmare.

The Pentagon has rolled out prototypes of its first-ever programmable “smart” grenade launcher, a shoulder-fired weapon that uses microchipped ammunition to target and kill the enemy, even when the enemy is hidden behind walls or other cover.

After years of development, the XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement System, about the size of a regular rifle, has now been deployed to US units on the battlefields of Afghanistan, where the Army expects it to be a “game-changer” in its counterinsurgency operations.

“For well over a week, it’s been actively on patrols, and in various combat outposts in areas that are hot,” said Lieutenant Colonel Chris Lehner, program manager for the XM25.

The gun’s stats are formidable: it fires 25mm air-bursting shells up to 2,300 feet (700 meters), well past the range of most rifles used by today’s soldiers, and programs them to explode at a precise distance, allowing troops to neutralize insurgents hiding behind walls, rocks or trenches or inside buildings.

This is going to make life* miserable for the brave, brave jihadis of al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Darn.

Could it be the Army took its inspiration from Monty Python?

*Well, the end of it, anyway.

LINKS: Hot Air, which has a CNN video on the weapon from last year.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Giant Israeli death-robots!

November 15, 2010

Well, not quite, but it’s still a neat use of robotic technology. Israeli researchers are working on a snake robot that can be used for clandestine scouting and planting explosives, and it uses some cool technology:

According to (Lt. Col. Gabi) Dobresco, the robotic snake could be useful in urban and subterranean warfare, enabling the inspection and surveillance of sewage systems, narrow tunnels, or culverts, inaccessible by other systems. Another advantage of such robots is the fact that the entire robot acts as highly flexible arm having multiple Degrees Of Freedom (DOF).

The vision for snake robots, outlined by Dobresco includes highly maneuverable snake shaped robot that can maneuver through difficult terrain, ‘sneak’ stealthily inside buildings, use its sensors to scan their interiors. The robot will be able to carry disposable sensors that could be separated and left behind to monitor activity inside buildings. When suspicious activity inside buildings is detected, the stealthy robot will be able to identify specific targets while remain virtually unnoticed, and leave behind delayed activated explosive charges for employing lethal effect.

As primary sensors, the robot will be equipped with a thermal imager, miniature cameras or low-light TV sensors, and possibly laser scanners operating as laser radar (LADAR). As each of the links is embedded with cameras, the entire group provides redundant, instant multiple 360 degree view of the surrounding while mapping of indoor and subterranean areas by laser radar.

This is actually the third generation of robotic snake the Israelis have worked on. Below is video of the first:

Mind you, they’re now two generation past what you just saw. This is going to have the brave, brave jihadis so paranoid, they’ll shoot every snake they see, robotic or not.

I’ve often joked, in reference to American military technology, that “we have all the best toys.” It looks like the Israelis are giving us some competition in that department.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)