I was reading yesterday that a group of scientists are busy working on the next generation of aerial drones, designing them to look and behave like pterodactyls, the flying dinosaur that's been extinct for over 200 years. You'll remember of course that unmanned drones have been used with increasing frequency by the US military over the last decade, and as with anything that is new and can kill people, have featured in pretty much every action movie made within the past year. (Sort of like Steven Seagal in the 90's.) Supposedly by adapting some of the flight characteristics of pterodactyls, these crazy dreamers hope to create a UAV capable of folding its wings so it can fly around or near buildings. Definitely handy characteristics for oh, let's say,
Batman, but for something remote controlled, that sounds like a good way to get your 20 million dollar aircraft shot down by someone's drying laundry.
Nevertheless, I find this idea of using dinosaurs as an inspiration for the military really exciting, because I'm pretty sure that the further we go down this road the sooner we'll get to Voltron. That's awesome. Let's see how America's enemies handle a lion-shaped, fist-shaped hole in their chests.
And along those lines, as the Department of Defense is apparently open for ideas, and as we're also kicking around things I thought were awesome in the 80's....
5 Incredible Sources of Inspiration for the MilitaryFalkor: from The Neverending Story
Making a huge flying hairy snake-dog might sound crazy, and indeed it is. I can't defend it. But what makes Falkor so great is that he's a luckdragon. That's right, he's so lucky it's actually part of his genus. If we could somehow reverse engineer his luckiness, we could have a close air support platform or troop transport completely invulnerable to enemy RPG fire - so long as we remember the power of imagination.
Nazgûl: from The Lord of The Rings
Technizally the Nazgûl were the dudes who rode the black leathery dragon things that I'm talking about, but everyone calls those things Nazgûl anyways, so that's what we'll go with. (They never did get a proper name, thank to Tolkien's almost child-like lack of merchandising acumen.) These are already black and sinister looking, like the military prefers, but could still use some upgrades: in the books they were destroyed by the bravery and character of a very small, hairy man. We probably don't want that to happen so definitely kit them out with a minigun or something, and keep them away from Italians.
Cloud Car: from The Care Bears
Not a weapon that's going to strike fear in the hearts of those who hate freedom, but bear with me. This is all about economical construction costs. You've got an airborne weapons platform for essentially the price of a beach umbrella, which may actually be superfluous, now that I look closer at it. So just the cost of the wheels then. At first I didn't know what the wheels were for, seeing as the vehicle is propelled by love, but then I remembered. They're for steering.
Teddy Ruxpin's airship: from Teddy Ruxpin
With the help of his friends and his ability to move his lips, Teddy Ruxpin got into a whole series of exciting adventures, and in 1987 was the envy of every child who had no friends because they couldn't speak. Along with the social confidence that goes along with vocalization, Teddy Ruxpin also had access to an airship, which carried him off to distant lands even though it looked about as airworthy as a fireplace. This probably wouldn't be suitable for front line military duty, but I'm sure it could be used to ferry troops into secure landing zones, or take the President on state visits to unimportant countries.
Small children: from Ender's Game
If there's one thing Ender's Game taught us is that if you brutalize children from an early enough age, they're capable of great things. Ok, just one thing. Killing. But so long as you point them in the right direction when they go off, that can still be pretty handy. Now thanks to morals, we don't live in the sort of environment where terrorizing children is generally acceptable, but if you ask me, if we're truly serious about fighting terror in all its forms, it might be time to establish a results based testing regime to find out which of our 6 year olds are the most dangerous when armed with a sock full of batteries. I've actually got a whole notebook here with similar ideas and drawings, if anyone who doesn't work for the FBI wants to see it.