Posts Tagged ‘ MIlitary ’

Reality from fiction : Fabric that deflects bullets (Indian again)

[tweetmeme] Remember The Matrix? When Neo asks Morpheus if he was trying to tell him that he could dodge bullets and Morpheus replies “No Neo. I’m trying to tell you that when you’re ready, you won’t have to.”

If engineers at the Centre for Advanced Materials Technology, University of Sydney, have their way, then soon the cops of the world could all be attempting a Matrix scene. If not stop the bullets in mid-air, they can surely bounce them off their bodies.

Till today, bulletproof gear that cops across the world use is made up of multiple layers of Kevlar, Twaron, Spectra (Thanks Guybrush) or Dyneema fibers which offer blunt resistance to the brutal force of a bullet. They tried to stop bullets from penetrating by spreading the bullet’s force. But the people who use them can still be left with severe bruising or, worse, damage to critical organs.

The new material, however, not only stops bullets but deflects them, rather than absorbing their force. The study by engineers at the Centre for Advanced Materials Technology, University of Sydney, is published in the Institute of Physics’ journal Nanotechnology. The elasticity of carbon nanotubes means that this so called “blunt force trauma” may be avoided, say Prof Liangchi Zhang and Dr Kausala Mylvaganam. The Indian and Chinese duo who have help fortify the argument that Innovation does not happen only in the west.

The teams’ testing was done on Carbon nanotubes in the dimensions of 0.7 nanometers in thickness & 7.5 nanometers in length. Bullets made out of Diamond were fired at 1000 to 3500 meters per second at the target material and the fabric successfully bounced the bullets off of its surface. Now if diamond bullets could not make it through, then I doubt if anything else will. Engineers claim that 6 layers of such yarn, which would be about 600 nanometers thick, would be sufficient to design a fabric for practical purposes.

To say that this technology is amazing would be a gross understatement. It could prove invaluable in fighting terror across the planet.Just hope the Bad guys are not wearing the same.


India Shining: A Technology update – Part 1 the Military

Republic Day brings about great memories of National Cadet Corps camps, Parades, Republic Day Parade preparations (although I never made it there), my National Defense Academy Selections (which I missed cos of some certificates) well all in all my what-might-have-happened-if career in the Indian Defense; But most of all it reminds me of my childhood days when I would sit glued in front of the television on Republic Day parade when India showed off her military competency or at least the weaponry that we have stacked.

Over the years, I watched the parade slowly change from borrowed technology and bought technology to indigenous technologies taking over. However, I think we all believe that its happened very slowly, especially after we have been watching US based military technology in Hollywood movies, it is getting relatively difficult to impress us. The Indian Government has been increasing the defense budget considerably to develop some of the most ambitious projects undertaken by the scientists from India. All of us know that some of the most popular organizations from the Defense sector have made it through this recession without too much of a hitch, in fact they are some of the most profitable organizations within the government sector and we can figure why.

Getting back to the Republic Day, this year is no other than the previous years we have had. India is going to go in all guns blazing to display some of its technologies that are now on the brink of commissioning. India’s first Indigeneously built multi role fighter aircraft christned ‘Tejas’ (formerly LCA – Light Combat Aircraft) is going into operations at the Indian Air force this year, no wonder that it will make an appearance at the Republic Day this year. Although it has had its share of  hurdles for the proposed ‘Kaveri’ engine, the swelling costs, R & D costs etc, the Tejas is a testament of Indian Engineering at par with the best in the world. However, one would have loved to see it fly rather than just being a display. Continuing on the Air force front, the Medium Combat Aircraft another ambitious technological leap from the makers of the Tejas (HAL) and Sukhoi 30-MKI (Sukhoi Industries) who are now working on the specification of the latest Multi Combat Stealth Fighter; is supposed to be better than the the American F22 Raptor, can you imagine that. (Have a look at some of the Artists Impressions (Credits – Alexander Dueller)

Another major highlight of this year’s Republic Day Parade would be the showcasing of the Indian Army’s Arjun tanksand the ambulance-tracked vehicles, “Smerch” multiple rocket launcher systems, engineer reconnaissance vehicle, indigenously built “Sarvatra” bridge, infantry combat vehicles and ICV-based communication vehicles of the Army along with the “Agni” ballistic missile, “Shaurya” canister-launched hypersonic surface-to-surface missile and “Rohini” radars from DRDO. (Check out Equipment of the Indian Army from Wikipedia)

Apart from all the actual military equipment, the Indian Army is looking to introduce Eco friendly technologies in the outposts, by that I mean power generation from renewable sources. Why ? well first of all out Military is in need of such technologies to provide for basic amenities in the remote outposts and also the maintenance and installation costs are going to be far lesser than trying to get to areas like the Siachen Glacier, the highest battle field of the world. It would also help to save the glacier from pollution, as also to cut down on the cost of the fuel and logistic efforts.

All in all it might be an amazing Republic Day parade this year, unless the weather decides to play spoil sport with fog. For all of you who might be interested to see the republic day parade and who might not have access to Doordarshan like me, can check out the parade here online.

Leaner and Meaner fighters

While at the Dubai Airshow this year I had a chance to check out the latest in military aviation technology. Well not really the latest but about the closest that was available for people to see. Anyway, from the B1 bombers with the awesome “Master of disaster” B1 bomber to the latest fourth generation F22 stealth fighter everything was there to be scrutinised by press and end users alike. The flying and stationary displays of the aircrafts were not only the displays that were there. It was more and that included in the airshow. The technology display pavilions were amazing as well.

But after a long and exhaustive day at the airshow, I really began to wonder the relevance of the aircrafts. I mean considering the last few years where more than countries going on full blown wars, we have seen smaller gueirella terrorist outfits that make use of imilar technologies as field american personnel. There is a bit of a level playing field considering that in order to engage in combat with these guys one would need to be on the ground and in their lairs. It is definately not as simple as two aircrafts going head to head in open air for a full blown dogfight. In these circumstances is the military fighter aircraft kind of loosing its relevance ?

Fighter aircraft are increasingly required to justify their expense by adapting to new roles and capabilities. Even so, fleet sizes continue to decrease. Despite still forming the backbone of advanced air forces, the size of many global fighter aircraft fleets is on a steady downward trajectory. Simultaneously, this reduction in the physical numbers of combat aircraft coupled with emerging operational requirements has necessitated an expansion in the mission set they are capable of undertaking. Aside from traditional tasks such as defensive and offensive counter air missions, today’s fighters are increasingly required to be accomplished at providing close air support and strike capabilities as well as contributing to intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance efforts.
The future structure of the USAF’s fighter fleet is currently one of the key issues facing the Pentagon and the new administration of US President Barack Obama, with the White House looking to reduce its defence budget while simultaneously remaining engaged in two foreign theatres. As a result of these dual demands, the USAF has been placed under increasing pressure by the Pentagon to focus upon providing capabilities relevant to continuing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, this mentality appears to have shifted attention from the air-superiority mission if current fighter procurement plans are examined. Moreover, the geography of future fighter programmes seems likely to change over the coming years. Despite European, Russian and US dominance in the current global fighter market in terms of market share, a shift away from these traditional centres of fighter technology, although minimal over the next 15 years, does appear to be taking place.
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So, I think the airshows in the next few years is going to consistently move towards civilian aviation technologies and not military technologies. So the last few goldern years of military aviation technology is available for us to view through the air shows. Lets make the most of the airshows then.

Dubai Airshow 2009

F22 Flyby, originally uploaded by mister_jester.

An HDR attempt at F15, originally uploaded by mister_jester.

The Break Up, originally uploaded by mister_jester.

I was recently at the Dubai Air Show and Man was it awesome. Here are some pictures from there.

Have a look at the complete set here.

Technology and Networks in the Military

Sparked by the Dubai Air show, and the awesome display of the aircrafts here, I began to think what the future of the warfare would be like. We are seeing a different sort of a conflict resolution in the world already, The U.S playing big brother in the world trying to have a say in all the internal issues of countries is a growing concern among nations. This was evident when the U.S president bought over the topic of unrest in Tibet and the Xinjiang province. The “Minority Report” style of operations (like foreseeing the conflict that Iraq may pose with its alleged WMD’s) that was employed by the U.S to attack Iraq was something of a game changer, not only is the result a bad reference for the U.S but a definite setback to similar thinking processes.

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The entire shift of conflicts now is spearheaded world over through the keyword “terrorism”. Most conflicts starting from the Sri Lankan siege on the LTTE or the worldwide attack on Al Qaeda are all terrorism related. The good old days of the cold war don’t seem to be in sight, when one country used espionage on another country to get information in peace time to have an upper hand during “war” time. On the surface it looks like it is a dying form of warfare or has it just moved from the physical to the virtual.

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Analysts say China employs a constantly shifting mix of official and civilian or semicivilian groups (such as so-called patriotic hacker associations) as the foot soldiers — the “proxies” — in its cyberwar armies. The technological challenges of tracing attacks on U.S. government and private-corporation computers are so enormous that Beijing can simply deny that any of the problems have originated in China. If you cannot identify the source you cannot deter the attack. So far, the Chinese have been able to get away with it, despite the fact that not just the U.S. is complaining. In the past few years, sources ranging from the German Chancellor’s office to government mainframes as far afield as New Zealand and Belgium have made loud public allegations that they had been the subject of cyberinfiltration from China, all to no avail.

If U.S. officials try to raise the issue of what they believe is a constant and growing campaign by China to infiltrate U.S. networks, steal secrets and hone Beijing’s ability to wreak havoc in case of military conflict, the likelihood is that Chinese officials will simply deny that the problem exists, as they have done with great success in the past. From the American point of view, there’s unfortunately currently little Washington can do to change that state of affairs.

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Since I am from one of China’s neighbors, India, this might not be something we might be losing sleep over, today. But definitely as technological advancements trickle down into the heart of the military operations in India this might be something that we need to worry about, but unlike a country like the U.S, our inability of implementation of these technologies in the military sector might be a sort of a boon in disguise. The websites of the Indian armed forces are a faint shadow of their counterparts in the U.S or Europe.

With less networking between the bases, the Indian Armed forces rely on less “low tech” communication methods than the rest of the superpower militaries. Although having declaring itself a nuclear state with the capability of producing a nuclear weapon in 18 months, It has begun indigenously manufacturing its own weaponry only in the late 90’s and the 2000’s.

One could write a whole lot about the pros of technology in the military, I am quite contended that India is on the ‘not-so-advanced’ list. For now …