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Weapons and Equipment

Articles Index

The High-Tech Military -- Now and in the Future
DoD research conducted over the past 30 years has produced innovations such as the global positioning system and stealth and night-vision devices. DOD is nows working on miniaturized unmanned aerial vehicles, improved digital communications systems, remote controlled vehicles to transport supplies, and more precise sensor systems that could be used to detect and destroy hidden surface targets.

The AV-8B Harrier
With the pull of a lever, 23,000 pounds of thrust slows the forty-seven foot long aircraft to a complete halt over the Lake Michigan shoreline, floating a stones throw away from a crowd boasting more than two million people. For the Marine Corps’ AV-8B Harrier, it’s all in a days work.

V-22 Osprey Aircraft
The V-22 Osprey program has suffered serious setbacks throughout its development, but program leaders are confident these problems have been resolved and they are ready to move forward. This tilt-rotor aircraft takes off like a helicopter, then the two rotors mounted to its wings tilt forward to allow it to fly as a plane, converting the craft from helicopter hover mode to airplane mode in 12 seconds.

The Future of Flight
Pilots maneuver aircraft by thought. Helmet-mounted heads-up displays project a virtual reality “soundscape” of the battlefield. Unmanned aircraft launch strike missions on enemy forces while small hand-held robots flit around war zones like gnats, projecting enemy movement back to command centers. Air Force scientists and others say the dreams of the future are only a few microchips away from reality.

Lightweight Mobility Artillery Rocket System (MLRS)
For the first time, the Army's High Mobility Artillery Rocket System was combat loaded with rockets, flown by C-130 to an Assault Landing Zone on Fort Sill, was downloaded and then fired a six-round live-fire mission. The Nov. 19 evaluation was a joint effort of the Army, Air Force and Marines, and marked a huge success for the Multiple Launch Rocket System that is designed to deliver "early entry and light forces" protection and firepower they've never had before.

New Body Armor Being Rushed to Troops in Combat Zones
The Army and Marines are rushing to get enough body armor into Iraq and Afghanistan by December for everyone who needs it, as fast as it comes off the assembly line. The new body armor, which is unisex, is equipped with removable throat and groin protectors, as well as front and back removable plates, which can stop 7.62 mm rounds. It weighs 16.4 pounds; each of the two inserts weighs 4 pounds, and the outer tactical vest weighs 8.4 pounds.

New Marine Corps Sniper Rifle
Marine snipers have found a new best friend. The Marine Corps has upgraded the old sniper rifle, the M-40A1, replacing it with a new and improved rifle. The M-40A3 will fully replace the M-40A1 by October 2004.

Army Catamaran
The Spearhead, hull number TSV-1X, which stands for "Theater Support Vessel - 1st Experimental, still bears a few reminders of its nine-year civilian past as a high-speed ferry between the Australian mainland and Tasmania. The Spearhead is the latest catamaran with which the military has been experimenting for the last two years after seeing similar craft operated by the Australian navy.

Boats That Fly
The sand explodes from the beach as monstrous crafts, flying 6 feet above the water as seagoing transport vessels, almost effortlessly transform into shore-side ships. Ships that, upon reaching the beach, open their bellies and regurgitate one of the most lethal cargoes the American military can muster: Marines and the tools of their trade.

New Marine Corps Riverine Craft
The Small Unit Riverine Craft was approved for full production in early August and that means Marines will soon be seeing the replacement for the old Rigid Raiding Craft that have been in use since the mid-1980s.

Development of New Assault Rifle to Speed Up
A strategy change at the Program Executive Office, Soldier has speeded up the development of a potential replacement of the Army's assault weapons. The XM29 is an integrated dual-munitions bursting weapon. It has an over and under barrel with a fire control. The top barrel fires bursting munitions using a fire control that programs the round, telling it where to explode.

Military Robots of the Future
A study by USJFCOM's Project Alpha is currently testing the viability of what used to be a fanciful notion but is now bordering on reality -- robotic warfare. By as early as 2025, autonomous robots on the battlefield might not be just a notion, but a norm.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) of the Future
Unmanned aerial vehicles have been stars in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. A recent show at Miramar Naval Air Station in California, displayed what the future may entail for UAVs.

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