1. The Russian Sukhoi T-50 fighter
Russia’s air force has been lagging behind the USA’s for some time now. However the US’ economic troubles means a huge cutback in spending, taking the number of the world’s most advanced fighter plane, the F-22 Raptor, out of the skies in huge numbers, and allowing the Russian T-50 to come into the fold. It has been developed since the early 2000s as the plane to combat the USA’s aerial dominance, and dominance in the air is crucial in all military operations. The new fighter has a low, supersonic flying speed with a maximum flight time of 3.3 hours (meaning the ability to “supercruise”), just longer than the F-22. It has a maximum take-off weight of 37,000 kg meaning in can carry a devastating payload of air-to-air, air-to-surface and air-to-ship missiles. It’s design is somewhat peculiar, but innovative. The vertical stabilizers on the tail fin of the plane are fully moveable, and it is made largely out of titanium and composite material. It has the capability to fly very low to avoid radar, it’s design can be undetected by basic radar and it carries technology intelligence machinery on board. It can also be more cheaply produced than the F-22.
2. The Punisher Super Rifle
In combat situations enemy personnel hidden behind doors, windows or fixed objects can be very hard to eliminate. However, the US Army’s new rifle will make it much harder to survive a military scenario against the US ground forces. The so-called “punisher” is designed to be a hand-held grenade launcher, build and used like a normal gun but with a timed, semi-automatic grenade coming out of it. It can hit a target with immense precision up to 500 metres away. With a built-in laser target finder and a micro-ship smart inside the grenade which times the blowing-up of the grenade to perfection, it is immensely difficult to avoid being hit by the grenade. The grenades can be blown up in the air, meaning for example, right outside the window of where the enemy is hiding. The computer chip is pre-programmed to detonate at a certain distance, which can be done at a moment’s notice in a combat scenario. The gun will soon have armour-piercing capability.
3. The Free Electron Laser
The US Navy’s new defence-system laser seems like something out of a sci-fi film. The new laser will actually become an integral part of the Navy’s boat defence system, with the ability to shoot missiles out of the sky. Such programs have never been seen before in war, although it has been in the US military’s research and development program since the premiership of Ronald Reagan. Normally lasers are produced by a machine that energy, mirrors and lenses to energise atoms, which produces light and energy, which is ten directed into an intense beam of light. Each laser operates at a wavelength, determined by the amount of atoms involved. The Free Electron Laser will focus many wavelengths at once, and for a long period of time, allowing it to build up 1 megawatt of energy. This means that unlike conventional lasers, it will not weaken as it travels over distance (normally weakened by environmental factors, such as rain). The main advantage of the laser is that aside from emitting a very powerful laser, it has no downtime between shots, meaning it can destroy multiple targets at once, giving the US Navy the upper hand in defending their ships.
4. Kongsberg’s new stealth cruise missile
Norway is not normally associated with military breakthrough, but defence and aerospace firm Kongsberg’s new stealth cruise missile offers an incredibly useful and destructive conventional threat to land targets. The new weapon is designed for the US Air Force’s F-35 stealth fighters. It has a range of up to 100 miles and can deliver a 900 pound bomb. The missile will also be used for the Norwegian and Polish Air Forces. What makes the missile so astonishing is its manoeuvrability. It can literally skim the surface of the sea, flying only a metre above the water. It has advanced terrain reference systems, meaning it can hug the ground and move very quickly over the ground, changing direction suddenly. It has built in GPS to guide it to its target an can perform quick, random G-force manoeuvres to avoid being destroyed. It is very hard to track, destroy, and its manoeuvrability and range mean it will become the weapon of choice for various fighter aircraft.
Lastly, the Russian Navy, not to be outdone by the British or American Navies, has recently developed a new nuclear capable missile with terrific capability. Like the most advanced nuclear delivery-systems in the world, the missile will be launched from a submarine. It was developed by the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology with the aim of being on par with the American delivery system, and work began as far back as the 1990s. After some testing failures, the missile became fully operational in December 2011. It has a range of 9000 kilometres, and can carry ten 100-150 kiloton nuclear bombs. Each one of these missiles would be 5-7 times greater than the bomb dropped on Nagasaki. It is a very light missile a low flight trajectory, giving it added stealth against enemy radar. It also has built-in defence systems – it can survive a nuclear explosion from 500 metres away and is totally resistant to physical and electromagnetic pulse damage, and has built-in decoys. It is a very manoeuvrable missile during warhead separation (as the missile breaks apart and each individual missile is released toward its target). This is due to the 3rd stage of separation being propelled by liquid, rather than solid fuel as in the first two stages. Each warhead in the missile can travel at hypersonic speed and be individually guided.