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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.