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How The Humble Squid Is Driving Military Tech Forward.

March 28, 2019 by  
Filed under Money/Business, Tech/Internet, Weekly Columns

(Akiit.comThe military has always been a driver of new technologies as nation-states vie with each other for strategic supremacy – scientists and engineers working away feverishly in secret military installations on exotic new technologies that they hope will give their side the advantage. Over the years, we’ve seen some pretty impressive stuff emerge from government labs, such as night vision goggles, stealth jets, and heads-up-displays.

But has progress stopped? Or is the military still developing bleeding edge equipment? Let’s take a look.

Squid-Based Invisibility Cloak

The natural world is full of wonder. When you think about it, an Apple smartphone is nothing compared to a fully functioning human being emerging from a single cell. It’s no wonder, therefore, that researchers often look to nature for technological inspiration.

Squids have proteins in their skin which increase their reflectivity. Military researchers think that they use these proteins on the battlefield to enhance infrared camouflage. Current technology allows the military to hide objects in the visible spectrum. But there is, as yet, no way cloaking the infrared radiation given off by engines and other hot parts of the equipment.

Squids, however, have a chemical called reflectin which works in the same range as night vision goggles. So there’s a chance that it can be incorporated into the skin of vehicles, helping to make them invisible to infrared sensors.

Laser Cannons

Laser cannons have the advantage of being able to deliver destruction at the speed of light: the speed limit of the universe. But while many thought we’d have to wait for the Star Trek world of the 23rd century, it turns out that the military already has laser cannon prototypes in operation. The US Navy, for instance, has a laser that delivers destructive force over a distance of more than 70 clicks. (What is a click in military terms? Click here if you’re not sure).

Boeing is also working on a truck-mounted version. The laser would sit atop of giant generator pulled by a truck that would integrate with radar scanners to destroy incomes shells and mortar fire.

Plasma Shields

Plasma shields sound like another thing plucked right from Gene Roddenberry’s vision of humanity’s future. But it turns out that these are real too. Current technology from Boeing creates an ionized field around a vehicle when it detects an explosion which protects it from incoming blast damage. The shield can’t yet protect vehicles from incoming projectiles, but it is hoped that it will provide near complete protection when integrated with other defensive systems that the military currently has access to.

Satellite Annihilator

Quite a few countries have defense satellites in orbit which help them to see incoming missing, track enemy movements, and coordinate their defensive response. But at the moment, there’s no effective way of destroying them. Now the military is working on a new kind of satellite that can deflect and concentrate rays from the sun on enemy satellite, literally melting them in the process. Northrup Grumman has a satellite in development which can track other satellites and then deliver a lethal dose of sunlight to disable them.

Staff Writer; William Moore

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