Invisibility may be making its way out of Hogwarts and into the real world in the near future. “Invisibility cloaks,” are just one of the defence mechanisms and weapons scientists are working on developing for the near future.
From bugs with computer chips to death immune microorganisms, theses are not your typical weapons.
The Aurora Excalibur is an unmanned aircraft that operates with a vertical take off and landing. It can reach speeds of 460 miles per hour and carry missiles on board to shoot. The aircraft can do all of this with a remote control. The Excalibur was successfully tested in June of 2009.
The XM-25 is capable of firing up to 25 grenades at any distance that can be predetermined and programmed by the user. This new weapon combines the capabilities of both a gun and a computer in one. It is rumoured that five XM-25 guns will be used in Afghanistan this month.
The Pentagon's defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is developing the future of lasers weapons known as High Energy Liquid Laser Area defence System. The goal of this laser system is to be compact enough to fit on board of a tactical aircraft without affecting mission performance. The lasers would be powerful enough to shoot down rockets, missiles, and artillery shells. Stage 4 ground tests are scheduled this year.
Scientists in Scotland are working on advancing camouflage by creating a material called Metaflex. This material acts as a Harry Potter-esq invisible cloak. The wearer appears invisible because the Metaflex material bends light as it hits its surface. The 'invisibility cloaks' are being tested this year and could potentially be used as a defence weapon.
The Navy is in the process of designing another laser system to shoot down rockets and missiles that may attack its ships. There are endless uses for the laser when it's not shooting down enemy fire such as a tracker, sensor, information exchange, and target designation among others. A preliminary design was completed in March and a prototype should be ready by March 2012.
The US military tested a version of a Railgun in the spring of 2008. The weapon can accelerate projectiles at speeds of 2.4 kilometers per second, seven times the speed of sound. A perfected version of the gun is expected to be read between 2020 and 2025.
DARPA is putting $6 million into a project to create microorganisms that can 'ultimately be programmed to live indefinitely.' These microorganisms would contain molecules that help resistance of death and could also be killed by users with the flick of a switch. Debut date unknown.
The Chinese navy is developing a 'kill weapon,' which will have the ability to target and destroy moving U.S. aircraft carriers. The anti-ship ballistic missile could strike U.S. vessels at a range of 2,000 km. The missile's odds of evading radar systems are increased because of the manoeuvrability making the flight path unpredictable and the low radar signature. Debut date unknown.
The HI-MEMS is part insect, part machine. First, a micro-mechanical system is placed inside the insect during early stages of metamorphosis. The bugs operate similarly to a remote control car -- the goal is to be able to control the bugs movement and location through the implanted microsystem . HI-MEMS will be used for gathering information using its sensors, such as a microphone or a gas detector. Debut date unknown.
The DREAD Silent Weapon System has the ability to shoot off 120,000 rounds per minute. The gun runs fully on electrical energy, not gunpowder, which means no recoil, no sound, and no heat. Debut date unknown.
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