A lot of the biggest technology breakthroughs we use in day to day life were first invented for the military, such as the Internet and mobile phones. When it comes to military technology and weapons, in particular, there is no end to the creativity, and many weapons being developed or in use by the U.S. military seems like something out of science fiction.
However, despite how crazy they do seem, these weapons which have been invented actually exist and have been developed from even the most basic airsoft guns. We have taken a look at some of the most surprising military weapons which have been, will be soon or are currently used:
Developed by the U.S. Department of Defense, the Personnel Halting and Stimulation Response Rifle (PHASR) is a non-lethal weapon which was designed to disorient or stun enemies as opposed to killing them. The light-based PHASR has been designed for both military and police use and works by temporarily blinding enemies with a focused laser beam. The laser lights operate at alternating wavelengths render people unable to stand or fight. The good news is that the laser light in the PHASR does not inflict permanent damage to people’s eye. (See top image).
The Armatix Digital Revolver has featured in a James Bond film, and this futuristic pistol does seem to be something that Q made. The pistol has a digital safety mechanism that can only be disabled if the operator is also wearing a watch that sends the unlock signal to the gun. The watch itself will only be active when the user unlocks it with their fingerprint, which means the gun can only be fired by the owner. It also means the gun cannot be used against its owner, and gun experts claim this approach is the way of the future and ensures gun safety.
One of the biggest problems that soldiers faced in combat has been seeing and firing weapons around corners. This is especially tricky in modern warfare that takes place in urban settings. However, U.S. soldiers use a weapon that enables them to both see and fire around corners. Named the CornerShot, the weapon has two versions: a semi-automatic pistol and a grenade launcher. A hinge in the centre of the weapon enables the barrel to pivot either left or right while the trigger remains stationary. A camera is also fixed to the weapon, so soldiers know what they are shooting at. The CornerShot has proven to be very popular, with 15 other countries now using them in their military or law enforcement.
Remember the “sick stick” used in Minority Report and Kick-Ass 2? Sticks that caused anyone to throw up when they touched them? Believe it or not, a real-life vomit gun has been invented. Ten years ago, the U.S. Navy signed a contract with Invocon to develop a weapon that uses radio frequency to impact a person’s hearing and equilibrium, and anyone hit by the vomit gun immediately experiences severe motion sickness and throws up. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Department also developed a LED Incapacitator that emits a pulse of different coloured lights which cause dizziness, headaches and vomiting. This is also viewed as a non-lethal weapon, and also shows how science fact is catching up to science fiction.
The technology that Predator uses – the invisible stealth technology used to blend into the jungle environment – is in advanced stages of development by the U.S. military. Called Quantum Stealth, the technology camouflages people by bending light around the object it is hiding. The result is people turning invisible to the naked eye. You may have seen images of Quantum Stealth online, and they are very weird! The endgame for Quantum Stealth technology is that it will be used by soldiers to infiltrate enemy territory without being detected, launch surprise attacks or carry out assassinations.
The U.S. Special Operations Command, with the help of universities and high-tech companies, has developed a Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) for soldiers to wear in combat. Essentially a robotic exoskeleton, it enables soldiers to withstand bullet fire, monitors their vitals and allows them to see in the dark. The Pentagon dubbed TALOS the “Iron Man Suit”, and there are even reports the next generation of this suit will be made from liquid metal that can solidify into an impenetrable suit on command; definitely something out of The Avengers! These suits are also expected to increase soldier’s strength and do everything but fly. Several prototypes of TALOS have been developed, and it is expected to be operational next year.
Another non-lethal weapon, the Active Denial System was developed to help disperse crowds. It transmits an invisible electromagnetic radiation beam that creates a burning sensation on people’s skin and gets them running away. It has been nicknamed the “goodbye effect” by senior military officials and a “heat ray” by scientists. The Active Denial System works by heating up water molecules on a person’s skin to 54 degrees Celsius up to 500 yards. The Active Denial System has been proven effective, yet has also been dubbed as a form of torture. Security experts expect it to be soon used with other crowd control methods of tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets.