3-D printing has already spawned dart guns, pistols, and rifles, but up until now, the 3-D printed arsenal has been lacking the firepower of a guided missile.
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As the number and variety of air, space and surface-based threats to our naval fleets continue to proliferate, defending against them all is getting harder and harder. But equipped with this new unified threat detection system from Raytheon, our Arleigh Burke-class destroyers will know what's coming from 30 times farther away.
The Tomahawk is among the most widely used and effective conventional weapons in the US arsenal, especially since we began covertly launching them from the safety of submerged submarines during the Cold War. Recently, Raytheon debuted the latest upgrades to its newest generation of Tomahawks — cruise missiles smarter and more adaptable than ever before.
While the Phalanx has proven an immensely effective self-defence system for the US Navy, it's far from a watertight solution. To intercept incoming threats that the Phalanx can't handle, the US Navy is investing in a rotating missile-launcher that lobs a baker's dozen of self-propelled missiles at anyone dumb enough to engage.
Even though Iran has backed away from from its threats to lace the Strait of Hormuz with mines, militaries around the world (the US included) continue to employ the devices in large numbers — as much as 200 times as often as any other kind of maritime weapon. So, to augment the DoD's ageing fleet of Avenger-class vessels and empower the new fleet of Littoral Combat Ships, Raytheon has developed the helicopter-launched Airborne Mine Neutralization System.
A still-chilling consequence of post-9/11 America is that we remain all too aware of the fact that we could be attacked at any moment. And so with worst case scenarios in mind, the US military is constantly upgrading its defence systems in increasingly creative ways. Washington DC is next in line. It's getting blimps.
It's not the first crowd control tool to use sound waves, but Raytheon's patent for a new type of riot shield that produces low frequency sound waves to disrupt the respiratory tract and hinder breathing, sounds a little scary.
Each Predator drone in the US arsenal costs between $4.5 and 10 million which puts them out of the reach of most forward-operating battalions who normally get stuck with smaller, unarmed UAVs. This new guided munitions from Raytheon is about to make those little fliers way more deadly.
Mike Booen, vice president of Raytheon's advanced security and directed energy systems, has "a vision": "We want to get to the point where it's a hand-held device." "It" is the assault intervention device. Development in that direction is underway.
We've written about the sci-fi sounding Army's Future Combat System before, but the Army's just demonstrated a successful test of one of its components: the Quick Kill vehicle defence system. Check it out: the Raytheon system uses an electronically-scanned radar array to detect an incoming anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade, then vertically launches a countermeasure missile that blows the round to smithereens in mid-flight, saving the RPG's intended target. It's a very simple test setup, and, of course the real system will have to deal with complications like vehicles in motion, but it's an important first step. And it goes boom.
In a competition to secure big UAV contracts with the Marines and Navy, Raytheon just gave an impressive demonstration of their KillerBee's flight capabilities. Parking in the middle of the desert and setting up the system in just 45 minutes, the Raytheon crew flew the UAV for four hours during which time it was able to maintain communication with both Army and Navy computer systems. Raytheon still has to outfit their device with a new custom jet engine to qualify for contract consideration, but their KillerBee takes a heck of a photograph all the same:
This week's New Yorker (yep, you heard me right) has a cool piece on the development of non-lethal weapons for military and police. You can tell the writer, Alec Wilkinson, had a good time reporting it. The story focuses on Charles Heal, a badass part-time Marine and part-time LA Sheriff's Department officer known in some circles as "Mr. Non-Lethal Weapons." As a product evaluator and consultant, Heal has helped create about 25 different non-lethal weapons, including:
newVideoPlayer("exoskelsuit2.flv", 463, 387,""); The Sarcos-Raytheon joint effort Exoskeleton has been around for a while, but the companies are trotting it out in honour of the Iron Man movie. This XOS seems really agile and powerful at the same time, but those hooks-for-hands really might be dangerous if you forget you have them on. But as you can see when their own roboman lifts those 90 kilos with barely any effort, it's really really useful. If they can kinda enclose up this suit so the whole thing is bulletproof, flameproof and Iron Monger-proof, we'd be first in line.