BAE Systems Adaptiv Technology is an active camouflage technology designed to protect military vehicles from detection by near-infrared night vision devices. It consists of an array of hexagonal Peltier plates which can be rapidly heated and cooled to form any desired image, such as of the natural background or of a non-target object.
Be afraid, be very afraid. This robot out of Boston Robotics will eventually be able to run across any type of terrain – as it’s main purpose is either a cargo-carrying unit or an intelligence carrying unit.
Either way, thinking of this thing barreling down the sand dunes coming your way is either scary or relieving…depending on your place in the particular dispute.
Arquus Scarabee Armored Vehicle
A division of Volvo, Arquus unveiled this bad boy at the 2019 Paris Air Show. It’s a light armored vehicle that will go into active duty as soon as next year.
The Scarabee has a hybrid drive with ICE and electric motors that allow for silent fully-electric operation on missions that require stealth or long periods of reconnaissance.
Only in Russia. Russian intelligence agencies are running several tests of various radar drones being hidden as natural flying craft such as….owls! Yes, this is real.
And yes, it is intended to fly under the radar so to speak. Not actually invisible to radars, but intended to fool the human eye. What a wild idea…
Army Rotorcraft Technology
As we speak, the Army is testing various aspects of rotorcraft tech, including its ability to withstand combat violence. “The purpose of this program is to generate some limited ballistic data that could reduce risk and/or encourage Future Vertical Lift designers to consider CTEF technology,” said Brian G. Smith, ARL-SLAD aviation analysis team leader.
Keep your eyes peeled in the very near future for this emerging, cutting-edge technology.
GlobalEye is an airborne early warning & control platform that performs multiple roles. It is produced by Saab’s defense and security division.
GlobalEye consists of a suite of sensors using Saab’s Erieye ER (Extended Range) radar and mission system, installed in the Bombardier Global 6000 long-range business jet. Long story short: crazy good radar. At an operating altitude of 30,000 feet, the Globaleye radar boats a range of 450km. How cool!
Guardium Unmanned Ground Military Vehicles
This compact patrol vehicle hauls 1.2-tons of weapons, sensors or cargo, and represents a massive force multiplier for the IDF. With a 48-hour cruise or 24-hour combat battery pack, the Guardium has unprecedented endurance for a ground drone.
Whether operating via remote control or in fully autonomous mode, this next-generation UGCV allows even a small border patrol force to control vast swaths of rugged territory with ease.
While there are plenty of small unmanned aerial vehicles already in service, the hitch for using them on the water has been launching and retrieving them in rough seas and on small decks.
DARPA’s TERN program (it stands for “Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node” but handily evokes a seabird) aims to fill that niche with an aircraft that can take off and land on its tail.
Artillery Gun Module (AGM) Self-Propelled Automated Howitzer
This game-changing artillery piece is not only completely automated, but light enough to be transported and airdropped by medium-sized transport planes. The main gun and control component is completely modular and can be quickly fitted to a wide variety of truck and track frames.
This unique German design allows a military to cheaply convert a collection of unused supply trucks into a large unit of highly accurate artillery pieces, all without requiring any specialized personnel to operate them.
Ghost Fleet Overlord
The U.S. Navy’s Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) announced a milestone for the program: 1 of 2 Ghost Fleet Overlord test vessels completed a total of two 4-day autonomous transits, with 181+ hours of autonomous operations–over 3,200 nautical miles.
The NAVSEA mission is stated as, “We design, build, deliver and maintain ships, submarines and systems reliably, on-time and on-cost for the United States Navy.” Gotta love that.
Perhaps the official name will provide a little more context: Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV).
National Defenses are becoming more and more concerned with ultra-quiet submarines lurking near shorelines – and so this is the answer. An autonomous, quiet, anti-submarine ship.
The Gladiator UGCV
The Gladiator is a modified bomb disposal bot developed for the Marine Corps. With much longer range, enhanced speed, and maneuverability, plus armor against small arms fire, the Gladiator is one of the first true combat drones in widespread service today.
Its multi-mission remote battle station can mount a wide variety of anti-personnel and anti-vehicle weapons, or sensors for reconnaissance and supplies for forward troops.
Of course, we’ve got to have the highly rumored-about B-21 Raider at spot number 21! When the Air Force set out requirements to make a Long-Range Strike Bomber (LRSB) for the 21st century, Northrup Grumman developed the B-21 Raider.
The B-21 Raider will be a manned aircraft, although it’s calling card is the fact that it is a high-altitude, stealth, drone bomber. Air Force personnel overseeing the project have specified they want to have at least one human pilot in the loop (meaning on the controls) as this aircraft will be responsible for delivering nuclear payloads.
BigDog Military Robot
Boston Dynamics, which is now owned by Google, created the BigDog to be a force multiplier. BigDog’s party trick is being able to cross multiple types of terrain (sand, snow, desert, forest) without stumbling over.
As a result it can deliver supplies and equipment to soldiers out in the field in places where helicopters can’t reach, as well as enter areas where it would be dangerous to send humans.
“RoBattle” Unmanned Ground Vehicle
This well-armed and heavily armored 7-ton drone is no utility accessory. The IAI RoBattle bot was designed from the ground up to spearhead combat formations and grapple with the enemy head on.
Its six independent wheels can also be swapped with tracks and the remote weapons station can mount heavy weapons, including 25mm Bushmaster cannons and TOW missiles. Perhaps just as impressive, the entire system is fully automated. Thankfully, a human operator still gives the final command to fire, although that’s primarily for moral and ethical reasons rather than technical.
Half hovercraft, half flying boat, the militarized version of Hoverwing exotic sports craft breaks all sorts of new ground. This amphibious “Batmobile” can haul up to 1,200 pounds of cargo out to a range of 140 miles, and at a breathtaking max speed of 75 mph.
Just as incredible, this next-generation hovercraft can cruise at over six feet, easily clearing any debris and even most landmines.
KRATOS BQM-167 Aerial Target Drone
From Kratos themselves, “The BQM-167A Air Force Subscale Aerial Target (AFSAT) is the only subscale aerial target platform operated by the U.S. Air Force. The primary role of the BQM-167A is to provide U.S. Air Force aviators with realistic and comprehensive end-to-end weapons-release training.
With an industry-leading fuel capacity of 115 U.S. gallons, the BQM-167A’s operation time-on-station is more than double that of the legacy platform it replaced. The longer available flight time means more presentations per launch, significantly reducing the target’s cost of ownership.”
Artificial Intelligence Aid
Think: Command and control, reconnaissance and intelligence…not weaponry.
AI is the catalyst of the fourth industrial revolution and is already helping defense agencies all across the world make more efficient, smarter decision daily. But rest assured, it isn’t taking over the trigger any time soon.
NASA Mars Rover – 2020 Prototype
It’s from another universe! No…just going to a different planet. This futuristic Mars rover concept vehicle was recently unveiled at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. They’ve got hefty sights set for it. This is merely a prototype meant to inspire as the expedition to Mars is well underway.
The visitor complex kicked off its “Summer of Mars” promotion with a June 5 ceremony that included former astronaut Scott Kelly. During his appearance, Kelly shared some of his experiences during a one-year stay aboard the International Space Station from March 27, 2015 to Feb. 3, 2016.
Lockheed Martin SR-72
It allegedly will be able to reach anywhere in the world in an hour!
Yes, one hour. The SR-72 is expected to reach speeds over 14,500 mph. It’s a single engine autonomous vehicle.
Is this a cutting-edge military vehicle? No. Is this cutting edge military technology? You bet it is. The Google Glass will provide troops on the ground a never-before-seen quantity of pertinent knowledge about the mission at hand.
Google Glass can can measure distances, display 3D building layouts, transmit video from a drone and more, all on a glass display right in front of their eyes.
The Distributed Aperture System (DAS) in the F-35 streams real-time images into the helmet from six infrared-cameras distributed around the aircraft, allowing pilots to “see through” the cockpit or airframe.
Additionally, the helmet provides pilots night vision through the use of an integrated camera. What a technology!
Festo Camera Ants
This one is far off, but it’s real. By the time this comes to fruition, let’s just wrap it u shall we? We’ve done enough on Earth.
The intelligence-gathering camera ants are autonomous or designer controlled, but they simultaneously transmit the feed to the designated access point. Don’t you wish the days of the digital camera never happened?
UAV offensives have become an almost all-important part of counterterrorism.
But with the rise of this technology comes the need for counter-options. The ability for all military vehicles to counteract drone strikes is right around the corner!
This unmanned light tank can reach speeds of 95 mph, making it the fastest tracked military vehicle on the planet. Intended as a base chassis for a whole new family of drone tanks, armored personnel carriers and support military vehicles, the core version is already one of the most nimble and agile armored vehicles in the world.
And with each variant costing less than $1 million so far, RIPSAW tracks can be fielded in large enough numbers to completely change the face of land warfare.
Army Futures Command All-Terrain Vehicles
Otherwise known as “The Vehicle That Shall Not Be Named”.
This bad boy, along with a couple other ATV’s recently completed testing at Texas A&M in various regards like mobility, radar functionality and consistency of performance.
RT01 Transport Vehicle
The RT Series Group Transport, also known as the Rover, was an armored personnel carrier produced by Weyland Corp.
One of Weyland Corp’s most popular and best-selling products, the RT Series Group Transport’s shape-memory alloy wheel system had nano-reinforced hard-composite treads that could resist temperatures up to 2000°F.
The Army has employed airless tires for years, but it’s finally starting to leak out into the public sector.
These tires never get flat, and need to be replaced at lesser intervals – ideally saving the U.S. Army money over time. Honeycomb tires is another name for these never-flat tires.
This small but supercharged patrol vehicle is a combat-proven replacement for the venerable old HUMVEE. Faster and far more maneuverable than its predecessors, the M-ATV offers even better armor protection from IEDs and rockets than most tracked armored personnel carriers.
Not to mention coming standard with the latest Warlock electronic IED jammers and a CROW remote weapon station.
DOK-ING MV-4 Mine Clearance Drone
This Croatian-made drone can clear safe passages through thick minefields or dig up vehicle barricades in a matter of minutes, all while the crew stays safe miles away. The drone is also unique since the all-electric power train keeps it incredibly quiet, for a tracked vehicle.
The DOK-ING line also provides several specialized variants, including remote fire-fighting and underground mining versions.
This jet-ski/ATV hybrid is the world’s first amphibious assault bike. These 140 hp QuadSki’s can hit 45 mph on land or sea. There are several variants available, including an amphibious snowmobile version.
While originally designed as a recreational sports craft, these supped-up quad bikes are rapidly becoming a favorite ride for special forces operators around the world.
XM25 COUNTER DEFILADE TARGET ENGAGEMENT (CDTE) SYSTEM
Well, the game done changed.
The XM25 CTDE System is an airburst grenade launcher designed to fire off grenades at high speed and with particular accuracy – and thanks to the laser rangefinder on board it can even spot enemy targets who are hidden.
Two seconds! That’s all it takes for the Wheel Track to transform – while in motion- from a circular wheel to a triangular one.
A wheel that can transform into a triangular track, developed by Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is a winner of a Popular Science “Best of What’s New” Award for 2018. This is huge gains for military vehicles that have to cross every type of terrain.
Every kid who played cops and robbers in their neighborhood probably thought about this as an option at one point.
To be able to bend your weapon around the corner of the building to protect yourself while still remaining engaged in battle? Wow. And yes, this is a real thing deployed by militaries all over the world right now as we speak.
image courtesy of national robotics engineering center
The Crusher is one of the most advanced unmanned ground combat vehicles ever designed.
Featuring a high-strength aluminum and titanium body, hybrid electric/turbo-diesel engine and completely independent suspension, the Crusher can handle just about every combat or support role on the future battlefield. Its hi-tech sensor and AI suite allows a Crusher to fight or deliver supplies in any weather completely autonomously.
Urban Aeronautics AirMule
This Israeli Defense Forces flying car is a real game-changer for urban operations. Capable of carrying over 1,000 pounds of people or equipment for an hour-long flight, the AirMule can get into tight spaces that no helicopter could reach.
Whether evacuating survivors from burning buildings or ferrying endless supplies to remote areas automatically, the AirMule is one of the most useful hybrid land/air drones available.
FLYPmode Patrol Vehicle
The FLYPMode is still in the operational testing phase, but promises to radically improve the capabilities of rapid deployment forces. Providing nearly the same protection as a light MRAP, but with increased visibility for the crew and vastly superior speed and maneuverability, this crowd-sourced DARPA creation is developing rapidly.
Thanks to its relatively low cost and modular, adaptable design, the FLYPMode is expected to enter wide-scale service in the next two years. Check Military Machine for the latest info on military vehicles.
Fed Alpha Armored Car
The Fed Alpha program was an early contender for the HUMVEE replacement program, but is now kept alive as a technology demonstrator for future combat designs. Its hybrid engine makes the Fed Alpha one of the most fuel-efficient armored military vehicles in the world.
Burning 70% as much gas as an up-armored Humvee, it still provides the same speed, armor protection and cargo capacity. Unique among military vehicles, the Fed Alpha also has a built-in solar panel to recharge its high-capacity lithium-ion batteries.
Chenowth Advanced Light Strike Military Vehicles
This is the latest version of the iconic Light Strike Vehicle of Operation Desert Storm fame. Faster and more fuel efficient, the ALSV is even more mobile than its predecessor. It’s also able to negotiate 75% gradients and 50% side slopes at high speed, plus the 160 hp diesel engine is powerful enough to handle extra strap-on armor.
This speedy little scout vehicle also has battery hookups and hardpoints for advanced surveillance sensors and Warlock electronic jammers. Check Military Machine for the latest info on military vehicles.
KRASUKHA-2/4 Electronic Warfare System
This humble truck is one of the most powerful mobile electronic countermeasures/jammers on the market.
A single Krasukha-2 can jam UAV controls, AWACS radars, incoming cruise missile guidance systems and fire control sensors on stealth fighters out to a range of 250 kilometers. The Krasukha-4 mobile system is even strong enough to blind reconnaissance satellites in low-earth-orbit.
image courtesy of HDT storm
Storm Search and Rescue Tactical Vehicle
These extreme dune buggies let rescue teams zip into the most hazardous terrain and carry out up to three litter-critical patients at once.
The Storm is compact and lightweight enough to be air-mobile or even air-droppable from most large transport helicopters. Capable of U-turns on steep hills, and within the length and width of the vehicle, or high speed J-turns over rocky ground, the Storm’s cross country maneuverability is unmatched by any other wheeled military vehicles currently in service. Check Military Machine for the latest info on military vehicles.
TOS-1 Buratino Heavy Flamethrower System
While one of the least maneuverable military vehicles in use today, the TOS-1 is definitely one of the coolest looking armored vehicles out there.
The chassis is a standard Russian-made T-72 MBT, but the turret is swapped out with Hollywood-style rocket contraptions to convert the tank into a short-ranged artillery piece. Each TOS can ripple off between 24-32 incendiary or thermobaric rockets in a matter of seconds, and sanitize two square kilometers out to 6,000 meters away.
Ultra Heavy-Lift Amphibious Connector
That ugly duckling coming out the water here is just a ½-scale model of the Marine Corps’ newest tracked amphibious landing craft. Dubbed the “combat paddleboat,” these beasts boast double the range and triple the cargo capacity of the heaviest hovercraft.
To put that in perspective, a single UHAC could haul two hulking M1 Abrams tanks into “hot landing zones” on shore at once. Even if coated in enough strap-on armor to shake off all but the heaviest enemy cannon and missile fire.
Merkava IV Windbreaker MBT
This game-changing Israeli armored vehicle is the envy of tankers around the world. Besides the massive 120mm cannon and multiple remote-controlled machine guns, the Merkava IV even has its own built-in 60mm mortar.
As a fun little bonus, these tanks pack in a cargo bay to haul around their own four-man infantry fire team. If that all wasn’t enough, the Merkava also comes standard with a Trophy active protection system to blast apart incoming missiles with a giant radar-controlled shotgun. Check Military Machine for the latest info on military vehicles.
The Saab Skeldar is a medium-range VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) developed by the Swedish aerospace company Saab.
The Skeldar can be used for surveillance, intelligence gathering, light cargo transportation, and electronic warfare.
Light Marine Air Defense Integrated System (LMADIS)
This United States Marine Corps portable jammer is making waves left and right. And for good reason. This thing took down a threat in the form of an Iranian drone earlier this year, launching into the sea. How?
This bad boy jams the signal between drones and their operators, leaving them to carry on at whatever course they are on until it runs out of batteries or hits something. In this case, right into the sea!
Black Knight UGCV
While only in the prototype stage, the semi-autonomous Black Knight infantry fighting vehicle will soon revolutionize ground combat. With a 30mm autocannon and multiple remote-operated missile/machine gun attachments, this mini-tank is the largest and most powerful combat drone in the world.
Capable of navigating and route planning automatically, the Black Knight will serve as an expendable robotic wingman for dismounted and mounted infantry forces to send into the thickest fighting. But wait, there’s more! Click through to view the “Honorable Mentions” of cutting edge military vehicles.
Honorable Mention: Mega M1 Riot Control Vehicle
This fully-loaded, fully-automatic, fully-electronic beast clocks in at over 17,500 pounds! Used to deter riots or small combat zones, the Mega M1 Riot Control Vehicle is equipped with every detail you could think of in a riot scenario.
Ports for weaponry, water hose, lights, heavy-duty bumpers, cargo space for reinforcements, complete climate control and if you look close enough, even it’s own CCTV system! Ideal for tampering down an unruly crowd, wouldn’t ya say?
Hydraulic solutions for multiple applications like road creation, aircraft cargo solutions, combat zone reinforcement and other uses is one neat-looking and efficient way to create a solution to a problem.
Honorable Mention: SandCat
The SandCat provides all the visibility and maneuverability of traditional patrol military vehicles but with STANAG Level 3 armor.
A real all-terrain vehicle as well, the SandCat can ford streams, cross trenches, climb high vertical steps, handle 60 degree inclines, 25 degree side slopes and even cruise at max speed across sand, rocks, mud and ice. With its agile 40-foot turning radius, the SandCat’s incredible on and off-road performance is hard to match.
Image Courtesy of Mesa Robotics
Honorable Mention: Armored Combat Engineer Robot
At 2.25 tons, the ACER is one of the largest land drones in regular service, and also one of the most adaptable. While slow and heavy, this next-generation drone is capable of performing a vast range of dangerous missions without risking human personnel.
Such as complicated search and rescue tasks in unstable rubble, landmine clearance, or constructing field fortifications while under fire. ACER’s are also routinely used as a launch platform for smaller aerial surveillance drones.