6 New Weapons That You Literally Cannot Hide From
Wars have been won and lost purely on the ability of one side to hide really well. Even a superior enemy can't take you out if they can't find you. Give ancient Rome barbarian-seeking arrows, and we'd still be wearing sandals to the bath house to wipe ourselves with sticks.
OK, bad example.
Finally, in the 21st century, technology is catching up to the problem with weapons that almost seem like cheating. So we're not sure if we should be impressed or terrified by...
Bullets That Will Outright Chase Your Ass Down
Really the only thing there is to know about bullets is that they travel in a straight line. If a dude is shooting at you, you're fine as long as there's something good and solid between you and him. A car door, a sandbag, another less fortunate person you're using like a bullet proof vest. This has been the rule for the last 700 years or so.
Until somebody came up with a way to develop guided bullets.
The building full of crazed geniuses known as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), have developed the EXACTO program, which involves using "smart" bullets complete with processors and steering vanes to allow the bullet to correct its trajectory in mid-fucking-air.
So even if you duck around a corner as some asshole is shooting at you, his bullets will supposedly be able to just swing around and follow your ass. We aren't talking about some wimpy small-caliber bullets either; the only size they are building these in (for now) are .50 caliber BMG, huge rounds which are intended either to kill trucks, or explode a guy's head from several miles away.
Just in case the word "overkill" hasn't entered your mind yet, they've got a much more explodey version of that idea, too. It's the XM-25 "smart" grenade launcher. It has a laser range-finder built in that can detect the distance to the wall or trench that you're hiding behind. That way the shell knows not to explode until it's right next to your fucking head. That's right; it won't detonate until after it punches through the wall you're hiding behind, but just before it hits you in the nose.
The XM-25 has a range of different munitions it can use, from high explosive to thermobaric, all of which are designed to make your trip to the other side as sudden and unexpected as it is horrifying.
BOSS Will Find You
But they can't shoot at you if they can't find you, right? After all, two can play the sniper game, and maybe you're hidden a hundred yards away in some bushes, or peeking through a small hole in a building.
Ah, wait. You have suddenly exploded. It was your eyeballs that gave you away.
You can thank the Battlefield Optical Surveillance System, a device that can be mounted on a truck that scans the landscape with lasers and sensors. When it sees the glint of a rifle scope, or your freaking retinas, it lights you up with a laser beam, at which point a bunch of soldiers turn you into salsa.
It will feel way less awesome than it looks.
If you do avoid detection, god help you if you actually fire a shot. That's where the Boomerang system comes in, which uses an array of microphones to instantly judge the speed and direction of the shot, based on the muzzle report and the shockwave of the bullet as it zips past. Immediately it knows where the shot came from, and even what kind of weapon it is.
So if you only get one shot, you'd better have something pretty badass, right? Like a rocket propelled grenade? Ah, that won't do you much good with the goddamned invisible force field protecting the vehicle you shot at.
DARPA calls it the Iron Curtain, and it uses an invisible pulse to detonate shells before they can hit the vehicle. Our only question is how long until they have a beam that just makes the enemy's own rocket explode right in his face.
Flying Sniper Bots
Of course, the people shooting at you are still humans, and humans can be killed. So that's still... sort of fair, right? Well, until they replace the snipers with robots. Who can fly. And shoot far, far more accurately than any human.
Unmanned drones are already all over the news, spotting terrorists in the mountains and even blowing them up sometimes. But researchers never stop looking for ways to make the concept more terrifying.
That's why they're building ARSS (yes, it's pronounced "arse") to straight up murder you from the sky while the pilot lounges comfortably on a recliner miles away drinking a cocktail out of a halved coconut.
ARSS is nothing less than a goddamn aerial sniper bot, complete with a .338 rifle that fires seven to 10 rounds a second, with "extreme precision." Though that two-word phrase seems a bit insufficient for something that can fire large caliber bullets that will punch through body armor from 10 football fields away. Silently. From the sky.
For the time being, aerial drones aren't being designed to be truly autonomous, at least until Skynet boots up. They have the ability to navigate pre-programmed flight paths, but for now, they require a human to control the finer flight control and to actually fire the weapons. Though the hyper-accuracy comes from the software, which sort of does auto-aiming. Hey, it's just like an FPS game! Finally, a job our generation is over-qualified for.
His carpal tunnel earned him a Purple Heart.
Apparently it's no longer okay to just flatten a whole city because there might be a few soldiers holed up there. So, you're a savvy terrorist group, and you've set your base up in a building nestled between an orphanage and a kitten factory.
Unfortunately for you, the Air Force has been testing what are called "Focused Lethality Munitions," or sniper bombs. They are being designed to drop out of bombers, fighter aircraft or even drones, use GPS to guide them to their target, and then kill everyone inside the building without so much as rattling the windows of nearby structures. No word on whether a pleasant female voice announces "you have arrived at your destination" before blowing everything to hell.
The sniper bomb's warhead consists of a "multiphase-blast explosive fill" made of DIME (Dense Inert Metal Explosive). The number of letters it takes just to name the blow-uppy parts is testament to how scary this thing is. Instead of a normal explosive wrapped in a crunchy shell of steel, it is held together by a carbon composite that murders everything in the room without harming the structure of the building.
DIME in action.
The next week, the landlord can just rent that shit to somebody else.
Eventually, you are going to just give up on the surface world, because it is full of robots and bullets that pilot themselves, and seriously, fuck that. Really, the only safe place is in some kind of supervillain underground facility or cave system. That works in the comics, right?
Before you retire to your subterranean hideout, you should know about the new nuclear bunker busters and BLU-118/B thermobaric bunker busters, both of which ensure you'll be burning your feet on the liquid hot mantle of the earth before you are safely out of their reach.
It really doesn't matter which is which; you are screwed either way.
Some of you stopped when you read the word "nuclear" up there. That's World War III stuff, right? We're not still doing that, are we?
Well, it's a nuke, but one designed to explode underground, so no risk of mushroom clouds carrying radiation all over the landscape. The tips of the bombs are made with tungsten, and that combined with the speed at which the bomb hits the ground causes "liquefaction" to occur when it hits concrete. So when you drop it from really high, the bomb crashes straight through the ground like Wile E. Coyote after he falls off a cliff. Unlike Wile E. Coyote, it delivers a nuclear apocalypse direct to your subterranean living quarters.
The BLU-118/B is just as terrifying. It is "thermobaric," which means it releases an explosive gas into the air before it blows up. This creates not just a mere localized explosion, but a traveling wave of fiery death that is "designed to tunnel through convoluted caves and pulverize anyone hiding as deep as 1,100 feet inside, and then incinerate whatever remains."
If that sounds like the most horrifying thing that can come roaring down your hallway, well, get a load of...
Kinetic Fireball Incendiaries
If someone told you that "rocket powered flaming rubber balls" were on the enemy's list of shit they were going to try and kill you with, you might be in danger of throwing out your back from all the maniacal laughter that would ensue. Kinetic Fireball Incendiaries are just that, though, and while the concept sounds retarded, the reality is about as close as the real world will ever get to being directed by Roland Emmerich.
"I'm envisioning FIRE!"
The idea is to launch lots of hollow balls of rubberized rocket fuel with a hole in one side, and light them on fire.. They become rocket-powered fireballs that bounce around inside the building, killing everything near them in the most cartoonish yet horrifying way possible.
We believe it works something like this:
The thing is, the flaming balls don't actually have to hit you. The concept works something like a martini shaker; the reason the shaker cools your delicious drink faster than simply mixing in ice cubes is because they move around the liquid inside, cooling a higher volume in a much shorter time. With the KFI, you get essentially the same thing, except the ice cubes are flaming balls that raise the ambient air temperature to over 1000 degrees in seconds, not to mention knocking down doors and spreading the same horror throughout the building.
"Shaken, not erupting with the fury of one thousand angry suns."
But this is some weird-ass DARPA project that will probably never move beyond the inventor's brain, right? Nope, published documents show that they have been tested, successfully. Is there a word for the emotion you feel when something is really really cool and really really horrible at the same time? If not, we need to invent it soon.
You can find more from David at Daily Chowder and Associated Content
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For more insane weapons that have been constructed, check out 7 WTF Military Weapons You Won't Believe They Actually Built. Or find out how you can turn your average toy into a lethal weapon, in 7 Hacks That Turn Everyday Objects into Deadly Weapons.
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