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25 Jan 07. US military unveils heat-ray gun. The gun uses a large dish mounted on a Humvee vehicle. The US military has given the first public display of what it says is a revolutionary heat-ray weapon to repel enemies or disperse hostile crowds. The gun – called Silent Guardian – projects an invisible high energy beam that produces a sudden burning feeling, but is actually harmless. The beam can be fired as far as 500m (550 yards), much further than existing non-lethal weapons like rubber bullets. The gun should be in use by the US military within three years. The prototype weapon uses a large rectangular dish mounted on a Humvee vehicle. The waves can penetrate clothes but not walls, suddenly heating up the skin of anyone in its path to 50C. Journalists who volunteered to be zapped during the demonstration on an air base in the US state of Georgia described the sensation as similar to a blast from a very hot oven – too painful to bear and forcing them to dive for cover. Military officials say the so-called “active denial system” is harmless, but could prove invaluable in the increasingly complex situations they face. The marine colonel in charge said it was an alternative to going straight from shouting to shooting and could save lives. The system could be used both for dispersing hostile crowds during peace time, or in conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan. (Source: BBC)
24 Jan 07. The U.S. Navy has confirmed that Raytheon Company’s advanced targeting pod achieved 100,000 operational flight hours on F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet aircraft. The Raytheon Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infrared system officially logged its 100,000th flight hour last month over Iraq, according to Cmdr. Martin Beaulieu, who leads the electro-optical/infrared integrated product team within the U.S. Navy’s F/A-18 program office.
19 Jan 07. Hybrid Truck Could Replace Heavy Tactical Vehicles. A fuel-sipping hybrid truck — whose onboard generator can also power a field hospital — could replace thousands of U.S. Army and Marine heavy tactical vehicles, the manufacturer says. Oshkosh has developed, tested and fielded prototypes of the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT A3), which uses 20 percent less fuel than its current equivalent and brings 100 kilowatts of exportable power, according to Army officials. Oshkosh is developing the eight-wheel, 13-ton A3 under a $55m research contract awarded in 2003 by the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) Lifecycle Management Command. TACOM spokesman Don Jarosz said production plans have not yet been determined. In coming months, Army testers will put several HEMMT A3s through 10,000 miles of on- and off-road testing at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Aberdeen, Md., to see whether the trucks can stand up to combat conditions. In place of a standard drive train, the truck’s diesel engine drives a generator, which powers an electric motor on each of the eight wheels. Put the truck in parking gear, developers say, and its generator can run a command-and-control center or field hospital. The truck stores its electricity in an ultracapacitor, which weighs more than standard electrochemical cells but which operates more efficiently in freezing or extremely hot climates. (Source: Defense News)
Jan 07. Hybrid truck from Volvo Group. Canada’s Truck News reports that a deal with the US Air Force has helped the Volvo Group show that its I-SAM (Integrated Starter Alternator Motor) hybrid kit is suitable for heavy trucks. The firm says its system can cut fuel consumption by up to 35%, using a traditional diesel engine; a Volvo I-Shift automated transmission; an electronic motor to generate some 160 hp electric power with energy storage and power train control systems. Volvo Group boss Leif Johansson told journalists that its subsidiary Mack Trucks has won four contracts from the US Air Force to develo