Nanobots for surgery

The Mach 7 Navy Gun

sing electromagnetic energy instead of gunpowder or other combustible fuel, this rail gun fires 23-pound shells a distance of 100 miles or more at seven times the speed of sound — Mach 7. The Navy expects to conduct seaside trials in 2016, after more limited testing in defense labs. A rail gun projectile will cost as little as $25,000 — far less than the current cost of an attack missile, $500,000 to $1.5 million. And one warship could hold hundreds of projectiles. Multiple rail gun shells could also be fired in sequence to blow apart incoming missiles.

Doctors Inside Bodies

Early research is promising for development of medical “nanobots” that could be introduced into a soldier’s bloodstream or tissues, capable of releasing treatments for everything from a sore throat to malaria or maybe even the effects of chemical or biological weapons The nanobots, part of an area of research called In Vivo Nanoplatforms, would work at the molecular level, hitching rides on a natural protein in the body. One day they might save the lives of soldiers where combat medicine or medevac services are lacking, and they could eventually find their way into civilian applications, too.

A “Flying Humvee”
This rugged transporter would take off like a helicopter and fly like a cargo plane. When they land, some versions under study by Lockheed Martin, United Technologies and Textron would even be able to drive off like, well, a Humvee. The concept vehicle, dubbed the ARES, would be similar to a small version of a V-22 Osprey transport, which already provides the Army and Marines with a huge operational advantage in difficult terrains. One of its most promising capabilities: quickly moving soldiers and gear over minefields and past roadside booby traps without having to call in a bomb squad first. The military wants the air-to-land vehicle to be extremely rugged, utilitarian in design, easy to operate and simple to fix.

Silent-Running Motorcycles

Imagine off-road dirt bike engines that make no sound. They would be powered by tough, powerful battery packs, allowing warriors to sneak up quickly on an unsuspecting enemy. Such designs are in the works at Logos Technologies and electric bike maker BRD. The electric two-wheelers would have just a small reserve of gasoline in case of an electric failure, plus a secondary fuel source, if needed, to escape danger.

Ship Lasers

Easier to turn, aim and fire than today’s heavy shipboard antiaircraft weaponry, laser guns will give sailors a more precise bead on the enemy. So precise, in fact, that naval vessels will be able to zap and disable an approaching enemy boat’s engine, allowing sailors to capture and interrogate their combatants rather than killing or wounding them. This technology will be especially useful in close-to-shore patrols, where ships are more vulnerable to attacks from small boats. Several companies are involved in building the so-called Laser Weapons System, including Raytheon and San Diego-based defense contractor Kratos. It will be tested soon aboard the USS Ponce, one of the workhorses of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet.

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