Reminiscent of “Star Wars” technology, the U.S. military is rolling out a variety of innovative vehicles, drones, and weaponry to aid soldiers in their missions against enemy forces.
The Black Night Transformer described by Pop Science as a “multi-mission medical and casualty evacuation unmanned air vehicle/unmanned ground vehicle,” can take off and land vertically like a helicopter and has the off-road capabilities of a truck. On top of that, the Black Night is remote controlled. Essentially, the vehicle allows for casualty evacuations in areas and times that manned vehicles and helicopters cannot operate, such as contaminated environments or heavily-mined locations. The controls can be quickly reset to be manually driven at any time.
Advanced Tactics, an El Segundo, California-based firm and manufacturer, will be further testing the Black Night this year, and it plans on also using it for “unmanned cargo resupply missions,” said chief engineer Rustom Jehangir. He added that the U.S. Marine Corps has “done work on this in the past with other platforms, such as the Lockheed Martin K-Max, but our platform will be much less expensive.”
In addition to the Black Knight, responding to the demands of the soldiers on the battlefield, three dozen micro-drones that resemble birds have been commissioned. The Maverick, which weighs less than three pounds, can soar through the sky at speeds up to 55 knots and has the ability to offer soldiers an array of military advantages. The advance design helps the drones blend into the background and avoid detection.
Also “quarter size” invisible laser beam defense systems may be available to soldiers within a few years. They will have the ability to target and destroy up to 90 incoming mortars and up to seven unmanned drone attacks. The technology is “above and beyond” what project managers expected for the laser defense system. Success in defending against mortars, common battlefield weapons, will be significant because defending against them is no easy task given that mortars can be fired from short distances.