The US Department of Defence officially calls its new invention the Inverted Multi-Purpose Ballistic Tomahawk Bayonet. They seem to be half weapon, half Swiss Army knife. In fact, they are so deadly and useful that they're replacing bayonets in some special units "currently fighting the war on terror in Afghanistan".
Update: I was wrong. As Gizmodo reader Leah tells me, the Duffelblog is the equivalent of The Onion in the military. The problem with the US military is that sometimes their contraptions get so wacky that I can believe anything they say. My mistake, people. Sorry about that.
Bayonets -- the traditional stabbing blade usually fixed to a rifle's muzzle -- seem to be on their way out in the US Army in favour of the Inverted Multi-Purpose Ballistic Tomahawk Bayonet (IMBTB). According to Maj General John Manning:
The IMBTB is a combination of military hardware in one sleek and deadly package. It was designed to fit nearly all of a soldier's combat needs while remaining somewhat unobtrusive and tactical. This is truly a cross-service technology. Following the general trend of mounting stuff under the barrel of M16s, we have attempted to create something truly versatile. Our researchers felt we had reached the limits of physics and reason with under-the-barrel mounting technology. We had to look for less obvious attachment positions. This is the culmination of those efforts.
So what makes this Inverted Multi-Purpose Ballistic Tomahawk Bayonet so special?
• It has an edge designed for fast chopping motions. Translation: you can strike an enemy soldier, remove, and keep chopping away at other enemies.
• The handle has been designed for "effective manipulation". I guess this means that it's very easy to handle. Ballistic tomahawks are easily launched from a distance to hit targets, like in western movies.
• The head can be unscrewed to access an storage area. In the first deployment phase, this area would contain "five matches, a small compass, maps and two gallons (7.5 litres) of pressurised JP-8 fuel".
• It can be attached to any standard weapon.
While the IMBTB is being tested by special units now, but they will reach other soldiers soon. [Duffelblog]