Battlefield Technology
The latest technological advancements in the battlefield today

ExFOB 2011 pushes green initiativesForward operating bases are dependent on fuel supply lines to run the generators that provide power.

If enemy forces interrupt those logistics lifelines, energy for vital communications equipment can be compromised, degrading combat readiness. Generators powered by auxiliary power units and concentrated solar technologies eliminate the need for liquid fuel sources.
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Video Game controllers hit the battlefield
Right now, military-grade game controllers nearly indistinguishable from their civilian counterparts allow soldiers to operate cameras, fly unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and even fire remote-controlled machine guns.

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iPads among new battlefield technology

iPads, iPhones and Androids could soon be a common sight on the front line in Afghanistan.
Apps are being developed by tech-savvy soldiers, to join the already impressive array of tools that is deployed to help fight the Taliban.

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BAE's ADAPTIV technology renders vehicles invisible to infrared

Infrared imaging is used for a range of military applications - such as target acquisition, night vision, homing and tracking - which means that any vehicle with some kind of infrared "invisibility cloak" would hold significant advantages on the battlefield. BAE Systems has tested just such a technology that not only allows vehicles to blend into their surroundings, but can also let it mimic other vehicles or natural objects.

Navy drones offer advantages, but won't replace manned aircraftUnmanned aircraft systems offer clear advantages to naval forces conducting certain types of missions, but they cannot replace the judgment a trained pilot can bring to bear in a particularly challenging situation, reports Navy Times.Large UAS, such as Northrop Grumman’s X-47B, under development for launching from aircraft carriers will be particularly useful in areas of the globe where flights involve long distances, such as in the Pacific Ocean, where it can outlast a manned aircraft on patrol or reconnaissance missions.Nevertheless, the Navy has no plans to do away with trained aviators. “That’s not even a goal,” said Capt. Jaime Engdahl, X-47B program manager, in a July teleconference.

Army announces greatest inventions

40mm Infrared Illuminant Cartridge, M992: Soldiers now have capabilities to engage the enemy far more effectively during nighttime operations. The Army's new infrared illuminating cartridges/projectiles produce infrared light that is invisible to the naked eye, but is clearly visible through night vision devices that U.S. Soldiers use in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Source: Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center)

Green Eyes - Escalation of Force Kit Integration with the CROWS System: The system emits a wide band of green light that temporarily disrupts a person's vision so that driving a vehicle or aiming a weapon becomes difficult if not impossible. One application would be to warn civilians away from checkpoints and other areas where their safety is at risk. At closer distances, the lasers provide an immediate, non-lethal capability to deter aggressive actions. (Source: Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center)

mCare Project: mCare, short for mobile care, is a cell phone based bi-directional messaging system developed by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command's Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center. mCare was developed by modifying commercial off-the-shelf technologies to meet the unique needs of the Army Medical Department. Secure, HIPAA-compliant messaging system was needed to operate on wounded warriors' existing mobile devices, in a manner uniquely distinct from text messaging or email. This allows members of the care team to connect with Warriors-in-Transition throughout their outpatient recovery process through a device they already own and are familiar using -- their personal cell phone. (Source: U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command)

RG-31 Robot Deployment System: The need for a low-cost and lightweight solution in transporting and deploying route clearance robots in combat brought on the development of the TARDEC RG-31. The system enables Soldiers to comfortably transport, deploy and operate road clearance robots from the protected area inside the vehicle.

Soldier Wearable Integrated Power Equipment System: The Soldier Wearable Integrated Power Equipment System, or SWIPES, utilizes the MOLLE vest and integrates force protection electronics and communications equipment with an advanced battery power source. The use of BA-8180/U and BA-8140/U Zinc-air batteries for direct power of equipment allows for extended mission times without the burden of power source swaps or power source charging due to their high energy density.
This combination can extend operating times of communication systems and surveillance equipment for search and rescue operations. The SWIPES allows for individual tailoring by the Warfighter and is designed to accept new applications as they become available. (Source: Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center)

Social and Ethical Issues

  • Integrity - as new technology is developed, information and data from previous systems must be migrated to the new system
  • Reliability - technology must be working accurately and at all times, for example GPS systems
  • Security - confidential information needs to be secured at all times - are iPods and iPads safe to use in war missions?
  • People and machines - machines may cause redundancy such as in the case of unmanned aircrafts. Does the use of technology such as using game controllers make killing people emotionally easier? Dehumanizes the act, makes it like a game.

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