Saturday, February 12, 2011

Top Military Developments of 2010

A very interesting list, and clearly only highlights. Here are some highlights of the highlights:

  • "Over the last eight years, billions of dollars has been spent on creating several generations of increasingly accurate combat simulators for training troops to deal with roadside bombs, hostile civilians, flying UAVs and new enemy tactics. These sims are taken for granted inside the army and marines, but still seem out of place to ill informed outsiders."
  • "The big news is that the admirals are actively brainstorming how to live with a high cost/low income future, not try to magically make it go away."
  • "Troops have increasingly been using their cell phones, including a growing number of smart phones (iPhone and Android in particular). These phones are very useful in a combat zone, and officers up to the top of the food chain have noticed this. So the decision has been made to create a militarized version of the smart phone."
  • "The Russians are buying warships and infantry equipment from France, UAVs from Israel and armored vehicles from Italy. The Cold War is truly over."
  • "The bolt-action, smokeless powder rifle was king of the battlefield for about half a century, before its replacement (the assault rifle) began to appear, so military technology pundits are trying to figure out what's going on here. There should be a new, breakthrough weapon by now. Where is it?"  I suspect we haven't seen it because Europe's been at peace for most of the last half-century, and for the rest of the world, the AK-47 has been more than they need.


Nope said...

the lasers will have to wait for the alien future.

Chris said...

Relevant to yr interests:

He comes across as a bit ghoulish, but the analysis and conclusions seem sound.

pulcherius said...

The black powder flint ignited long gun lasted for 200 years (1630-1830) without any major changes.

trollsmyth said...

AHM: Apparently. ;)

Chris: Thanks. I hadn't been reading that one.

Pulcherius: Yep, but the trend in nearly every other avenue of tech has been one of nearly constant acceleration in development. Even tech that's stalled or moving backwards in the civilian world (jet travel, for instance) is moving ahead in the military world (UAVs, ramjets).

However, it's also true that you build your weapons of tomorrow based on the war you're fighting today. The big advance, at least in America, in small arms has been in the rifleman, and not in the weapon. Our guys don't even do three-round bursts much anymore, and are now accurate enough to hit the target with single shots, carefully aimed, which means improved efficiency (vital when our guys are already lugging around 60 lbs of gear and can't really afford the weight of extra ammo) and making it far less likely that they'll hit innocent bystanders. It's a radical development, but primarily an accidental one and not what people were expecting.