Self-Destructing Bullet Patented by US Army

One of the largest contributors to technologies growth is the armed forces, with people looking at everything from mounting rail-guns to ships to being able to inject a sponge into people to stop gunshot wounds from bleeding. The latest patent that the U.S. Army has filed for though is designed to prevent harm, in the form of a self-destructing bullet.

.50 calibre bullets are designed to be used in large guns, with everything from a sniper rifle to a mounted machine gun firing them off with their range and size often making them the round of choice for long distance engagements. This puts you at the risk of firing bullets that may not stop where you want them to. This may no longer be the case though thanks to a patent filed by the U.S. Army.

Researchers Brian Kim, Mark Minisi and Stephen McFarlane didn’t feel rounds had to keep going. Two years after filing for their patent it was approved, allowing for a new design of bullet that would have a “timed” lifespan. Designed to ignite the second the round is fired, the countdown would begin, ending with the bullet ending its travel once the reaction reaches its final stage.

McFarlane stated that “the biggest advantage is reduced risk of collateral damage”. While the design is based and tested on the .50 calibre rounds, the patent extends to the method used in creating the new form of rounds, meaning that it could be used in everything from small handguns to large calibre weapons.

Chinese Soldiers Now Equipped With Laser Guns

The Chinese military has begun equipping its soldiers with handheld laser guns, in direct contravention of international treaties banning the use of blinding laser weapons. The PY132A laser gun, revealed during the Chinese Police Expo in December, is designed to blind enemy sensors and cameras and intended for use against enemy vehicles and drones, Popular Science reports.

In 1998, China signed a United Nations Convention that prevented the development of Certain Conventional Weapons [CCW], which included blinding laser weapons that could be used against humans. While the Chinese military claims that its PY132A laser are for use against mechanised combatants, it remains possible for the weapons to be used against humans, intentionally or not. The scattering effect of laser beams means people are at risk of being struck in the eye, risking blindness.

“China has been updating its home-made blinding laser weapons in recent years to meet the needs of different combat operations,” the official military newspaper PLA Daily reported on 9th December, via The Washington Free Beacon. “Blinding laser weapons are primarily used to blind … targets with laser[s] in [the] short distance, or interfere [with] and damage … laser and night vision equipment.”

“The United States is committed to the CCW and expects all parties to uphold the convention and its protocols,” a State Department official warned.

The US is also worried that these weapons could make their way on to the global arms market, with Chinese weapons systems expert Rick Fisher saying, “There is a strong possibility these new dazzlers are being marketed for foreign sale.”

Russia Wants World of Tanks Players to Remote-Control its Tanks

Following the reveal of a series of remote-controlled tanks developed by a Russian defence contractor, the country’s deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin claims that future mobile infantry drivers will not emerge from the military as is traditional, but instead from gamers versed in popular MMO World of Tanks.

“We need no tankers now, we need World of Tanks players,” read a tweet by Rogozin.

https://twitter.com/Rogozin/status/653469089000783873

Rogozin has previously predicted a world in which “bespectacled nerds” would crush the “handsome athletes who fight on a lower technological level” in a new brand of techno-warfare.

The remote-controlled T-90 tank, developed by the Uralvagonzavod company, is able to be remotely piloted from up to 5 kilometres away. Earlier this year, fellow Russian armoured vehicle manufacturer Tractor Plants built the Kurganets-25 tank which based its control interface on PlayStation controller.

Albert Bakov, Vice President Tractor Plants, said at the time, “I spent two years on convincing the designers to make the console similar to a Sony Playstation gamepad, to make it easier for a young soldier to familiarise himself with it.”

It seems Russia has found a unique angle by which to recruit the next generation of military vehicle drivers. If the UK armed forces are seeking tacticians, I’m great at Risk.

Thank you RT for providing us with this information.

US Army and Law Enforcement Found Purchasing Italian Spyware

Leaked documents have revealed that US law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and DEA, and the US Army have been using an Italian-made spyware package to remotely control people’s computers, while also using it to monitor and record calls, e-mails, keystrokes, and visual information obtained from any connected webcams. The illuminatory documents, 400GB-worth, were dumped online by an anonymous hacker.

The malicious programs utilised were created by an Italian company called Hacking Team – notorious for its invasive surveillance technologies and considered an “Enemy of the Internet” by Reporters Without Borders – which has been pushing its wares to law enforcement and intelligence agencies across the US through practical demonstrations to a number of District Attorneys.

The documents show that the FBI has been using Hacking Team’s spyware since 2011, through its shadowy Remote Operations Unit, but has only rarely been cited in criminal court cases, one of which involved phishing a victim into clicking on a fake Associated Press article link. The FBI has also been found to develop its own spyware packages.

The DEA, after declining Hacking Team’s offer of spyware in 2011 on the grounds that it was “too controversial”, did purchase the malicious software in 2012, which it used in conjunction with Colombian law enforcement, with plans to expand its use across Latin America.

Though the US Army also purchased spyware from Hacking Team in 2011, for use out of Fort Meade, an internal e-mail included in the leaked documents admitted that “they purchased a system right before they got their budget cut…They were never given permission to pull an internet line to their office to install the system. (ridiculous but true!)”

In response to the revelations, Hacking Team spokesperson Eric Rabe said, “we do not disclose the names or locations of our clients” and “we cannot comment on the validity of documents purportedly from our company.”

Though the use of such software to spy on suspects could be legal in the US with the approval of a Judge, the kind of spyware developed by Hacking Team is considered highly unethical, and is akin to the human rights-infringing methods employed by the NSA during its PRISM program.

Thank you The Intercept for providing us with this information.

US Navy Renews Support with Microsoft

Windows XP reached end of life a year ago, I just turned off the last PC on our network running XP last week. It’s been a hard OS to replace as the Navy have found out.

This, rather amusingly, is still generating Microsoft some serious revenue as large corporations are coughing up the obscene amount of money to receive Microsoft’s extended support.

The US Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) has closed a $9.1 million contract extension with Microsoft that the agency originally announced earlier this month to extend custom support for the now ancient, Windows XP operating system, as well as the Office 2003 suite and Exchange 2003. According to a Navy contracting announcement, “Across the United States Navy, approximately 100,000 workstations currently use these applications. Support for this software can no longer be obtained under existing agreements with Microsoft because the software has reached the end of maintenance period.”

The renewal will allow the Navy “time to migrate from its existing reliance on the expiring product versions to newer product versions approved for use in Ashore and Afloat networks, and will provide hotfixes to minimize risks while ensuring support and sustainability of deployed capabilities.”

Many of the systems that use Windows XP are currently floating around in the middle of the ocean, unable to be upgraded for long amounts of time due to the location of the vessels.

The navy is not alone in their dependence on Windows XP, the Army also recently approved an agreement with Microsoft to support the 8000 devices they have on the OS.

Thank you to ArsTechnica for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Computerworld

US Army One Step Closer To Star Wars Land Speeders

So around four months ago we reported on a Kickstarter that was launched to raise funds for a hoverbike. That’s right, a bike that uses the same idea as a drone to help it hover. After raising nearly twice as much as it initially intended the UK-based company has now got a new client, The US Army.

The US Department of Defence announced the deal with Malloy Aeronautics today. With the option to operate remote controlled or with a human pilot, the small craft is more controllable and maneuverable in tight spaces and due to the blades being guarded the chance of someone getting themselves or their clothing caught is drastically reduced.

Before the deal is finalised Malloy are required to develop a full-size model, from which the DoD will develop military prototypes from. With the cheaper, more economic vehicles being designed for both civilian and military use now, it may not be long before those hover vehicles in fiction start become reality.

Malloy told Reuters that they consider the vehicle ideal for small cargo delivery missions (similar to a what Amazon hope to do) or search and rescue missions. They also suggested surveillance, but I think if you spotted one of these down your road you would get a little too curious.

With speeder bikes becoming a step closer to reality, I’m just waiting for the lightsabers and force powers. What would you do if you had one of these bikes?

Thank you The Verge for the information.

Image courtesy of Malloy.

US Military Catches up With the UK with Drones

Drones! These really expensive remote controlled annoyances are huge. If you don’t own one, you will have probably seen one or at least heard of them. This story comes to us from the US military; they have adopted a new drone to use in the strive for ultra covert operations where stealth is key.

Gone are the days of using a remote controlled car, now drones have taken a key place. Not only are they incredibly maneuverable, but they can also be very small. When we think of drones, quadcopters immediately come to mind; while this is the standard for consumer use, drones can pretty much be any shape or size as long as they don’t require a human occupant.

The drone in question is the Black Hornet Nano, or PD-100 UAV if you want to get technical. This miniature drone resembles one of those cheap $15 helicopters you can buy from a market that crashes after about 15 seconds. The key difference between the Nano and the cheap version is about $39,985, yes this costs around $40,000; so it better fly well. It measures in as just 4×1 inches and weighs just 0.04lbs; in with that you also get regular AND thermal cameras, perfect for a night flight.

“According to Defense One, the US Army has “a handful” of these drones in its possession, which it began testing back in March. That said, the tiny, $40,000 Black Hornet Nano has been part of the British military’s arsenal since 2013, so the US is a slightly behind on adopting the device.”

This reminds me of that little surveillance transformer from Transformers 2, where Shia crushes it in his fingers. What are your thoughts on drones getting smaller like this? Good or bad? Let us know in the comments.

Thank you engadget for providing us with this information.

 

US Army Developing Invisibility Suit

Can you see me? Yes Jeeves, I can!

The US Army is in the process of developing an invisibility suit for its troops. It has requested firms developing “Stealth Fabrics” to get in touch and have stated that they want to get the first prototypes created within 18 months; they hope that the suit will be able to function in all terrains, from ice caps to desserts, and in all temperatures.

The companies that are selected will undergo a one-year phase will have to submit 10 suits for testing, and all suits must work in all terrains from all angles. They also said if the adaptive camouflage requires power then it must weigh less than 0.45KG and last for at least 8 hours of operation.

The Army have stated they want the following:

  • Has 360-degree coverage and ‘can actively respond to various land environments under changing light conditions.’
  • Can be integrated with soldier’s equipment.
  • Ideally, will not require a power supply. If it does require a power supply, it ‘should last a minimum of four hours and weigh no more than two pounds’ including batteries and connections.
  • Reflects infrared light the same way as other army uniforms
  • Works in a range of terrain, including desert, forest, urban areas, jungle, and mountains.
  • Works below freezing and at temperatures above 95 degrees Fahrenheit, in high wind, in stormy weather, and in smoke, dust, or fog

Guy Cramer may be one of the people who have their materials used to help the military. You can see a short video about his company – Hyper Stealth below. He says he demonstrated it to the Military last year and that the new project will allow him to move forward with it. Cramer won’t release details of how the technology works or photographs.

Thank you to The Daily Mail for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of The Daily Mail

Habey Release the Swiss Army Knife of Mini-ITX Motherboards

Don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of Habey before, most people haven’t. They have however been in the business for quite some time and probably longer than some of our readers have been alive, so they know a thing or two about creating solutions for embedded and small form factor systems. Their newest product, the mini-ITX motherboard dubbed the MITX-6670 is somewhat of a swiss army knife of the small form factor with a lot of onboard functions and even more upgrade functions.

As a base, you’ll get a mini-ITX motherboard with a passive cooled Intel Baytrail quad-core J1900 processor running at 2.4GHz and two SO-DIMM slots for up to 8GB total DDR3 memory. There are two onboard Intel LAN port and there is an onboard header for an optional POE module. You can connect two SATA drives or two mSATA drives, but not both at once. The selection is made by jumper and one of the mSATA ports support full size where the other only allows half-size mini-PCIe.

But it doesn’t stop here as you can customize even more. There is a default PCIe x1 slot, but the really cool feature is the onboard header that allows you to expand with what you, may it be an extra HDMI port or a DisplayPort connector instead.

The built-in iGPU supports HD resolutions and the Realtek ALC892 chip powers the audio part. There’s also support for a Trusted Platform Module (TPM 1.2) and you can even insert a sim card for 3G, 4G, and LTE connectivity.

MITX-6770 Features

  • Dual Intel I210/I211 Gigabit EthereEthernet
  • Built-in Ethernet port pin-header ready for POE (Power over Ethernet) setup
  • HDMI + VGA and LVDS/HDMI/DP/eDP add-on interface card options
  • Dual mSATA SSD support with easy jumper selection
  • Build-in Infineon Trusted Platform Module and 8-bit GPIO
  • Realtek ALC892 high-performance 7.1-channel HD Audio
  • Low power, fanless passively cooling

Habey’s MITX-6770 has a manufacturer suggested retail price starting at $159, which actually isn’t much considering the features you get and compared to other available boards with fewer features and functions.

US Army Now Testing Clip-on Ray Guns

Ray Guns, the perfect example of what we thought futuristic military combat would involve, is starting to become a reality. The US Army has already started fitting some of their trucks with powerful laser systems and missile defence systems, now it looks like they’re making good progress at miniaturising the technology, as they’re now outfitting ground troops with their latest beam weapons.

Created by Army Armament Research electronics engineers James E. Burke, the device is known as the “Burke Pulser”. The Pulser is an attachment device which can be fitted to standard rifles and uses a piezoelectric generator, as well as a pair of protruding antennas to generate powerful electrical bursts.

The whole system sounds pretty futuristic and by fitting it to an M4 Carbine, much in the same way you would a standard flash suppressor, it can quickly turn the gun into a ray gun; awesome!

While we’re not going to be using these new weapons to fight off laser-wielding aliens just yet, the new weapons are perfect for frying the electronics of IEDs and roadside bombs. It’s still early in development, but with an estimated price of $1000 per unit, the new technology could quickly help save lives in the near future.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

British Army to Set Up 77 Brigade ‘Social Media Unit’

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The British Army is to set up a ‘social media unit’ called 77 Brigade. The army is reportedly interested in creating the Brigade due to the ‘ineffectiveness’ of conventional weapons in the face of modern day threats.

The unit will consist of social media experts, psychologists and behaviourists who will be tracking to the communications of  various groups, including those of extremists and militants, in an attempt to establish how such groups are formed, how they develop and how they can be prevented from developing. They’ll also be working directly with such groups and members of the public online in a neutral manner, as part of efforts to prevent the spread of harmful and extremist messages.

The unit will also be attempting to influence whole populations in order to educate people against negative threats, including those from oppressive governments who may be trying to influence such populations through propaganda.

Source: BBC News

US Defense Department Develops Bullet That Can Change Direction Mid-Air

The US Defense Department has developed a laser-guided bullet that can change its trajectory in mid-air to follow a moving target. The .50-calibre EXACTO bullet – and acronym for EXtreme ACcuracy Tasked Ordnance – has an inbuilt sensor that can track its target from the mounted laser on the sniper rifle it’s fired from.

“The EXACTO system seeks to improve sniper effectiveness and enhance troop safety by allowing greater shooting standoff range and reduction in target engagement timelines,” reads DARPA’s statement on the advanced round, boasting that its “specially designed ammunition and real-time optical guidance system help track and direct projectiles to their targets by compensating for weather, wind, target movement and other factors that could impede successful hits.”

Source: WND

Watch a Laser Cannon Shoot Down a Drone

The US Navy has a big new toy – the USS Ponce with its massive laser cannon.

This giant cannon can shoot objects from great distance, moving at speed and with incredible accuracy. In one of their tests in the video bellow, they fire at an object aboard a boat, alongside a dummy that comes away completely unscathed thanks to the laser’s precise shot.

Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, chief of naval research, said:

“We ran this particular weapon, a prototype, through some extremely tough paces, and it locked on and destroyed the targets we designated with near-instantaneous lethality. Laser weapons are powerful, affordable and will play a vital role in the future of naval combat operations.”

Source: Gizmodo

Soldiers Running 4 Minute Miles Thanks to DARPA’s Exoskeleton

Sounds like something out of a video game right!? This is an exoskeleton and by now you all must of heard about them. They are lightweight frames that are designed to support soldiers carrying heavy loads of 100lbs or more, as tough as soldiers are 100lbs is still 100lbs and that will drain the soldiers energy very quickly. This is where the exoskeleton comes in. The exoskeleton that’s being developed by DARPA can help soldiers run a mile in just 4 minutes whilst carrying all their kit, amazing right? The exoskeleton supports the joints and muscles in the most demanding areas such as Knees, hips, arms and legs. This enables the soldier to move faster, be stronger and carry more kit without suffering. The exoskeleton is also designed to recognize when a part of the body is injured, for example, Soldier falls and badly hurts their knee, the exoskeleton would recognize this and apply extra support to that area enabling the soldier to continue like nothing happened. Obviously if they broke a leg or something then this wouldn’t mask it entirely but could still enable them to walk to, all be it painfully, the nearest place that offers medical treatment.

One of DARPA’s loftier goals for this project is to provide enough supplementary muscle power to soldiers that they can easily run a four-minute mile. The suit should be compatible with approximately 90 percent of wearers, both male and female. Using just 100W of power from a small battery, the entire setup should be light enough that soldiers will hardly realize they are wearing it. The only difference will be that they will be able to move faster, stronger and with less fatigue than they could without the suit.

 

The technology could be used outside of the battlefield as well, of course, to support firefighters and police, or even to help injured veterans regain some of their lost mobility. Check out the video of it in action below.

[youtube width=”640″ height=”340″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3Gz2yu5jUs[/youtube]

Thanks to Gajits for supplying us with this information.

Images courtesy of Gajits.

Norweigan Army Testing Oculus Rift VR Tech Inside Tanks

A new prototype navigation system is being trialed by the Norwegian army, allowing their soldiers a new way to drive their tanks, and it uses Oculus Rift. The new system uses special cameras mounted on the exterior of the tank, which are then fed into the Oculus Rift headset via some software, to provide the driver with 360-degree of viewing space from within the safety of the tank.

The new system is nothing more than a prototype, as the picture quality provided by the headset and the cameras is not good enough for operational use. They’ve been testing with Oculus since 2013, which I’m guessing was the DK1 dev kit hardware, but in April they also tried out the newer DK2 hardware.

“It is a partial success,” project leader Maj Ola Petter Odden told the BBC. “The concept is sound, but the technology isn’t quite there yet. The picture quality is good for 10-15m [30-50ft] – but after that it is difficult to distinguish details, for example whether an opponent is carrying a weapon.”

Oculus Rift has so far proven a much cheaper solution compared to conventional military camera systems. The hardware used is still under development, but they’re preparing their systems and soldiers for when a higher quality headset and camera system are available.

Thank you BBC for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of BBC.

Royal Air Force To Use 3D Printed Parts For Their Tornado Jets

3D printed things have been the thing since 3D printers came out. There is no limit, except your imagination of course, to what you can make with them. This apparently is also the case for the Royal Air Force (R.A.F.) which started using 3D printed parts for their Tornado jets. And no, this is not a joke.

This move has saved the RAF £300,000 and is said that it could save them million of pounds in the next three years. The parts printed out span from protective covers for cockpit radios to support struts on the air intake door, and even protector guards for Power Take-off shafts. BAE Systems is the responsible for printing out the parts for the RAF.

Up until now, four squadrons of Tornado GR4 aircraft received the 3D upgrade and it is reported that many of the parts cost less than £100 to manufacture, leading to an estimate of £1.2 million in savings by 2017.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33wIEBb9yoU[/youtube]

“You can manufacture the products at whatever base you want, providing you can get a machine there. If it’s feasible to get machines out on the front line, it also gives improved capability where we wouldn’t traditionally have any manufacturing support.” said Mike Murry, HEad of Airframe Integration at BAE Systems.

Thank you T3 for providing us with this information
Image and video courtesy of T3

Indian Army Tracks Spy Drones For 6 Month, Turns Out They Were Just Planets

This sounds a little too silly to be believable but it seems the Indian Army have spent roughly six months watching, tracking and documenting the movements of what they believed were two Chinese spy drones, when they were in fact watching the planets Jupiter and Venus!

The level of incompetence here is absolutely incredible and it makes you wonder just how many people in a position of power there actually have a grasp of our own solar system and night sky, let alone any clue as to what could be a spy drone, not a huge gas giant planet millions of miles away…

The two unknown objects appeared in the night sky sometime in August 2012, the Telegraph Calcutta reported that the Indian army made 329 sightings of these objects between the first sighting and February 2013, yet in that time the had not come to the conclusion that they were planets orbiting the sun. Instead the determined that on 155 occasions the apparent drones were in violation of the Line of Actual Control that separates China and India.

Of course this was all straightened out 6 months later when the army finally contacted astronomers at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics in Bangalore, who are likely still rolling around dying of laughter.

“The astronomers were told that the first object, viewed from a location about 4,715 metres above sea level near Thakung, appeared in the horizon at about 6pm and remained visible until about 5am. The second object appeared at 4am and faded away at 11am.” said Telegraph Calcutta.

Jumping to conclusions really can be a dangerous thing, but the fact that this went on for 6 months is somewhat frightening.

Thank you VR-Zone for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of BBC.