Futuristic War Vehicles

The U.S. Army is taking huge steps toward modernization, and they soon aim to roll out the next-generation combat vehicle. The future's fighting platform will run on alternative energy sources, posses advanced armor and dynamic protection systems, and aggrieve using lasers.

In a panel at the Association of the U.S. Army's Institute of Land Warfare forum, experts discussed the biggest threats combat vehicles should be prepared to overcome. These include armor-piercing-guided munitions (APGMs) – such as rocket-propelled grenades – cyber-disruptions, and nuclear weaponry. The army expects that operational units will roll out to battle by 2035.

M2 Bradley fighting vehicle. Credit: U.S. Army

One of the modes of offense being considered is laser technology, which may be able to give vehicles 360-degree protection. Testing of some laser-mounted vehicles is already underway, like the short-range 5-kilowatt laser weapon on The Stryker.

The army, together with its partner organizations, is also looking into advanced-composite materials together with nanotechnology to really beef up armor protection.

Tech Wars

There's actually a lot of recent laser tech that show promise on the battlefield: potential wide-range scanning for explosives by tetrahertz-firing quantum lasers, the 60-kilowatt ATHENA that can bore holes through two-inch thick steel, and China's enemy-tracking powerful laser beams.

To boot, laser weaponry could be coupled with renewable energy sources, like hydrogen fuel cells coupled with biofuels.

It is evident that technology has revolutionized how we live—and in effect, is also changing the landscape of how we fight and defend. Engineering breakthroughs and technological innovations are spawning everyday: autonomous weaponry, thinking computers, and drones, all have the potential to build societies as well as damage them.

Although these weapons are being developed with the protection of soldiers at heart, these developments must be coupled with productive discussion about how we want to use technology to live better lives.

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