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updated 3/14/2011 2:10:34 PM ET 2011-03-14T18:10:34

All debates about jingoism and pacifism aside, it's hard to argue with the fact that the considerable cash poured into military-related research and development sure does turn out some nifty gadgets, vehicles and, yes, explosions.

As 2010 comes to a close, here is a rundown (though in no particular order) of 12 of the year's top stories on TechNewsDaily touching on military technology: from the newest flying machines to old fighter jets, screaming fast warships to robotic craft, and futuristic laser weapons to a powerful new grenade launcher.

Seven Sci-Fi Weapons from Tomorrow Are Here Today

A number of weapons and weapons systems now on active duty or in the prototype stage seem to have been ripped straight out of the overwrought imagination of a sci-fi writer. Here’s a trip back to the future to look at some of the latest military and law enforcement hardware.

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New Army Camouflage Lets Soldiers Hide in Plain Sight

New camouflage uniforms being given to U.S. Army troops in Afghanistan will make them much harder to see.  Here's how.

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Recycled Military Jets Serve as Satellite Launchers

One company has a plan to turn old fighter jets into a launch system for the fleet of small satellites set to be launched in the coming years by dozens of universities and organizations.

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Navy Tests Screaming Fast Warship

A high-tech ship with blistering speed aims to become the Navy's new go-to vessel for close-to-shore missions.

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Air Force Invests in 'Batman' Technologies for Special Forces Soldiers

A military program named for and inspired by the superhero Batman is bringing together advanced technologies to equip Special Forces soldiers for the 21st century.

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Navy Shoots Down Robotic Aircraft with Laser Beams

A futuristic battle was fought over the Pacific Ocean where laser beams targeted four robotic aircraft and ignited them, sending the flaming drones plummeting into the sea.

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New Robotic Stealth Fighter Jet Set to Soar

Unlike earlier generation drones, the Phantom Ray stealth jet from Boeing flies high and fast and doesn’t need a pilot on the ground.

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And read about the Phantom Ray's maiden flight on Dec. 13.

7 Next Generation UAVs

While the Predator drone dominates the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) world today, the next generation of robotic planes will push the limits of technology even further. Here's a look at seven of the contenders.

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Old Fighter Jets to Be Destroyed in Target Practice

Boeing is converting retired Lockheed-Martin F-16 fighter jets into QF-16 Drones to be shot down during Air Force target practice with live ammunition.

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New Game-Changing Army Weapon, XM25, Destroys Hidden Targets

The Army’s new XM25 grenade launcher has microchip-embedded "smart" rounds that can reach enemies behind cover at considerable distances.

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Flying Car Could Transform Warfare

The military's R&D wing, DARPA, is looking to equip soldiers with a flying car that will cruise in the air like a plane and drive on the ground like an SUV.

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Bang-Free Bombs: Military Merges High Tech and Low Tech

The military is developing nonexplosive concrete bombs that will destroy a single structure, leaving nearby buildings intact.

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© 2012 TechNewsDaily

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