The Bild edition has published a series of articles on super-weapons from different eras. Journalist Niklas Renzel examined different periods, including the present and the foreseeable future. The article “Unsichtbare Laser und Intelligente Kampfroboter: Die Superwaffen der Zukunft” (“The Invisible Laser and the Intelligent Battle Robot: The Future Super-Weapon of the Future”), published on January 13, is dedicated to the future systems of the following years.
Like other articles of the cycle, the material about the systems of the future is preceded by the aphorism of the British writer Martin Amis: “a weapon is like money - no one knows how much it will be enough”.
Faster, higher, worse. When it comes to developing weapons for war, the human mind has almost no limitations. At all times, certain armies had weapons that gave a serious advantage and did not leave the enemy a single chance. The Bild publication intends to consider super-weapons from different eras, and in this article draws attention to the patterns of the future.
Scientists and engineers from different countries are already working on promising weapons systems, which so far are known only for science fiction books, films and computer games. Artificial Intelligence Robots Tanks and deadly lasers - science fiction can come true sooner than expected.
Gauss cannons and rail guns
This weapon has the simplest principle of action and a completely non-complicated structure. For example, in the composition of the rail gun there are only two guides-rails, which are energized. The resulting magnetic field accelerates the projectile along the rails. Both the rail cannon and the Gauss gun, which has a different principle of dispersing ammunition, do not use the propelling charge of the traditional type, which is characteristic of the existing artillery.
The main advantage of such tools is high energy performance. According to N. Rentzel, the rail gun differs from the traditional powder in four times the initial velocity of the projectile. This leads to an increase in the firing range and power of the ammunition. The gun does not need sleeves or caps with gunpowder, which saves space inside its carrier, such as a ship.
The main drawback is the highest energy consumption. To accelerate the projectile to the desired speed, the gun needs an incredible amount of energy that should be released instantly.
Weapons using electromagnetic projectile acceleration have been developed for over a hundred years. The US Navy has been dealing with this topic since 2005. As part of the project launched, a prototype Innovative Naval Prototype was created, capable of sending a projectile to a distance of 200 km. The developers believe that such a weapon "will change the rules of the game" and will become a new unique weapon of warships.
However, rail guns are still inferior in their characteristics to a number of existing missiles. In addition, the main means of fighting ships with ships, most likely in the future will remain the appropriate missiles. Nevertheless, promising electromagnetic systems are fully capable of replacing existing artillery, and therefore can count on the honorary title of super-weapon.
Lasers are typical science fiction weapons, bright, spectacular and destructive. Naturally, the ministries of defense of different countries are interested in such systems. For example, recently the British military department issued a new order to develop a promising combat laser. A system worth several million pounds is planned to be sent for testing in two years.
Specialist of the American think tank RAND Corporation John Nakuzi reminds: lasers have been called the weapon of the future for the past few decades. At the same time, several years ago similar systems reached the tests at landfills. For example, American armored personnel carriers were equipped with experienced combat lasers. To test the laser gun was installed on the landing craft USS Ponce (AFSB-15) US Navy.
A combat laser can affect a target in two ways. First, the laser beam transmits heat to the target. So, one of the prototypes on tests from a distance of 2 km could burn a car body and then destroy its engine. The second way to influence the target is to suppress optical-electronic systems with possible damage or destruction of devices. This can be used to combat unmanned aerial vehicles.
Laser weapon systems have two characteristic advantages associated with practical operation. They are of interest in the context of the fight against mortar mines or rockets used by terrorists. The laser gun can detect and hit similar targets, melting their bodies and undermining the charge. The second advantage is the minimum cost of a shot. Rocket armament has a great price: a rocket can cost a million dollars. The laser gun itself is very expensive, but each shot will cost only a few dollars.
The enemy will not be able to hit the soldier if he does not see him. The current masking systems are built on different principles and deceive detection tools with their design or the materials used. Camouflage means of the future will make whole military units literally invisible.
Scarlett Johansson in the role of Major - character / g "f Ghost in the Shell", which used active disguise. Foto: Paramount Pictures
The means of masking, copying the environment and giving the impression of the invisibility of a protected object, is called active or thermo-optical camouflage. The viewer could recently see a similar technology in the movie “Ghost in the Shell”. Another example from the fictional worlds is the magical invisibility cloak of Harry Potter.
N. Renzel notes that active camouflage already exists. At the same time, real means of masking of this kind are not based on magic and are used so far only in the animal world. Examples are chameleons and some cephalopods. In technical means of masking, the following principles should be used: the video system should fix the view behind the object to be covered and project it on the front side of the latter. Thus, the observer will see only the background, while the protected object will remain unnoticed.
Another invisible tool for military use, this time impenetrable. In the future, fantastic power fields will be able to protect tanks, ships and aircraft from enemy fire. The military department of Boeing has already studied this topic, and in 2015, she applied for the first patent in a promising area.
The heroine of Jessica Alba from the movie "Fantastic Four" uses a force field. Photo picture alliance / dpa
The proposed principle of protecting an object uses sensors and special protection systems. When an approaching weapon is detected, the automation should give a command to the laser and microwave emitters. Those will create a plasma cloud in the way. It is a cloud in its temperature, density, etc. must be seriously different from other space, because of which the flying projectile will face different loads and collapse.
Unlike the protection of spaceships from the movie Star Trek, such a force field cannot be kept on all the time. Its long-term use will lead to excessive energy consumption.
Battle suits and exoskeletons
An ant, due to its chitinous cover, can carry a load that is 60 times heavier than itself. With exoskeletons, in the future, people will also be able to work with heavy objects. The author of the publication Bild notes that the direction of exoskeleton is no longer a simple dream of the future.
The Japanese University of Tsukuba not so long ago presented the exoskeleton Hybrid Assisitve Limb (HAL). Using such a device, an ordinary person is capable of carrying a load five times the normal load. Exoskeletons of a special kind have already found application in medicine, where they are used for the rehabilitation of people with disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Also, this technique is of interest to enterprises of heavy industry.
Naturally, exoskeletons have a great future in the military sphere. For example, Lockheed Martin created the Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC) system, which enhances a soldier’s physical abilities. Similar products have already reached the stage of testing and refinement.
Fighting robots, such as the terminator from the movie of the same name, have long been “registered” in the horror genre. In the meantime, armies from different countries are showing interest in such systems. According to the American newspaper New York Times, the Pentagon has invested billion dollars in the development of new combat X-NUMX robotic systems. Allegedly, the United States simply has no choice: strategic rivals in the face of Russia and China are developing their robotics, investing substantial sums in their own "science fiction army". Allies in the face of Israel or Britain are trying to keep up.
The fighting humanoid robot T-800 from the movie "Terminator-2: Judgment Day". Studiocanal Photos
In the arms race in the field of combat robots, the United States does not want to allow any threat to their status as the most powerful force on the planet. Moscow and Beijing have achieved impressive results in this area, their combat systems are almost as developed as the American ones. The Pentagon begins to talk about foreign developments almost with respect.
The advantages of automated combat vehicles are obvious. They are able to perform a task faster and more accurately than a person. In addition, they can go where no one will go. At the same time, the robot operator, being at a distance from him, runs almost no risk.
For the time being, the Pentagon intends to make combat robots reliable partners of “human” units and ensure that they do not pose any threat to soldiers. At the first stage of development of such equipment, American strategists are going to maintain a mixed army structure, including both people and equipment. Robots can take on the task of collecting data that will be issued to people in the so-called. augmented reality. Defining tactics and issuing commands, however, will still remain human tasks, not artificial intelligence.
Nevertheless, such plans do not reassure opponents of military robotics. In 2015, several hundred scientists from all over the world signed an open letter criticizing combat robotic systems. The authors of the letter indicated that even the simplest intellectual systems could provoke a new arms race, and in addition, there is a risk that such funds would fall into the hands of terrorists or rogue states. The letter stated that the autonomous systems would become the Kalashnikov assault rifle of tomorrow — a simple, affordable, and common lethal weapon. However, the US military has already made a decision in principle, and now the debate goes on another topic. American commanders are trying to determine how much freedom can be given to automation and what solutions should remain for the person.
One example of the development of a future combat robot is the Atlas project from Boston Dynamics, created in collaboration with the Advanced Research Agency DARPA. Recently, this robot, while not having any means of military use, showed its capabilities. He ran over rough terrain, fell, but got up without difficulty, and then demonstrated the skills of owning a hockey stick.
One of the most important novelties of the Russian army is the U-71 hypersonic aircraft, created in the framework of the project with the code designation “4202”. According to N. Renzel, this product can reach speeds of up to 11000 km / h and fly with a pilot or using remote control tools.
The greatest danger of the U-71 is the combination of speed and maneuverability. Conventional missile defense systems can intercept only a target flying along a predictable trajectory: calculating the parameters of the latter, the missile defense determines where to send anti-missiles. This technique is useless when protecting from trajectory-controlled aircraft. Due to the high speed, the hypersonic device cannot be destroyed by air defense systems of the existing types.
Yu-71 - unmanned strike system: a guided, super-high-speed weapon with a nuclear warhead. As reported by military experts, 26 February 2015 of the year Russia conducted the first launch of the experimental unit Yu-71.
The author recalls that time is running Within a few years, the first Yu-71 will enter service. By 2025, Moscow wishes to receive at least two dozen such devices.
The prefix "nano-" comes from the Greek word "dwarf". One nanometer is a billionth of a meter. This is the dimension of the virus. N. Renzel asks: how do such microscopic particles relate to war? And then he answers that in the most direct way.
American physicist Luis del Monte last year presented a book on nanotechnology in the military field. The main conclusion of the book is that such technologies in their destruction potential even surpass nuclear weapons. According to Nanoweapons: A Growing Threat To Humanity, Russia and China are already investing billions in military nanotechnology.
Possible appearance of nanorobots of the future. Figure Shutterstock / Lightspring
Because of the minimum size, a nano-weapon will be able to act imperceptibly, and no one will be able to identify its identity. With it, you can hit manpower or destroy enemy resources, both military and civilian.
At a recent global catastrophe conference at Oxford University, experts identified the deadly potential of nanotechnology. Conference participants believe that nano-weapons can destroy humanity until the end of the XXI century.
For many years, scientists have been working on systems with artificial intelligence. The purpose of the work is simple - it is planned to create artificial systems that can think and make their own decisions. However, one has to hope that these decisions will be useful for a person.
Considering the problem of artificial intelligence, N. Renzel quotes businessman Ilona Mask. He warned that such technologies are the most serious risk to civilization. J. Nakozi pointed out that there is a danger of losing control over a weapon completely controlled by artificial intelligence. According to I. Mask, the final decision should still remain with the person. Otherwise, artificial intelligence can start a war, the reason for which will be fake news, fake emails, false press releases and information manipulation.
I. Mask also gives another example of the malfunctioning of artificial intelligence. The latter can redirect the passenger airliner to the conflict zone and give ground forces permission to attack. The prerequisites for this may be the simplest, such as an attempt to make money on shares when investing money in defense enterprises. The businessman quoted in Bild believes that it is necessary to create laws governing the development of artificial intelligence.
Researchers from the University of Würzburg studied the legal consequences of using artificial intelligence, namely the question of responsibility for the accidents caused by it. Professor Eric Hilgendorf believes that it is necessary to introduce full responsibility for the consequences of such accidents. Responsible for the actions of the machine should be the one who brought it to the market, even if his actions did not become a direct prerequisite for the accident.
According to official data, fully autonomous weapons are not yet in operation. Nevertheless, according to rumors, a machine-gun machine has already been deployed on the border of South Korea, independently searching for targets and "pressing the trigger".
Spaceships and space stations
Coming somewhere, people bring war with them. Experts believe that this will be the case with outer space. The first attempts of this kind refer to the early eighties, when the United States launched the Strategic Defense Initiative. The purpose of this project was to create an orbital station with laser weapons. It was assumed that such a station directly from space would be able to destroy Soviet ballistic missiles before they become dangerous for the United States. However, the program turned. She was too bold for her time, and besides, unacceptably expensive.
Real space battles are far from shown in Star Wars. Photo Allstar / Lucasfilm / Walt Disney Pictures
A year ago, the structure of the American armed forces appeared new space command - US Air Force Space Command. Prior to his education, the United States Air Force Command was in charge of 134 offices in various countries where 38 had thousands of people. The command budget was 9 billion dollars.
At the disposal of the space command of the USAF there are no own ships or combat stations. The objective of this structure is to operate a global radar station. With the help of these objects should be made launches of enemy missiles. In addition, the command is responsible for the work of the military satellite constellation, including devices for various purposes.
At the moment, as the author Bild points out, humanity is far from full-fledged space combat ships. However, since 2004, DARPA, in collaboration with Boeing, has been working on the X-37B aircraft project. According to known data, the second flight of this experimental machine, which began in the 2011 year, was associated with the development of certain military technologies. In 2014, the third flight began, continuing the record 674 of the day. The objectives of such a long flight were not disclosed.
Concluding the story of the promising weapons for space, Niklas Renzel recalls the peculiarities of international law. As early as 1966, the Treaty on the Principles of Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, was opened for signature. Among other things, this document regulated military activities in space. According to Article 4 of the Treaty, nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction cannot be deployed in Earth’s orbit.
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