Weapons of the future in Sci-Fi

In summary, the goal of HACMS is to make it extremely hard for hackers to break into things like drones or military command and control networks. DARPA is also working on high-resolution night vision cameras that shares the feed with everyone, a low-cost thermal imager program that will deliver body-heat sensing optics that are 10 times cheaper than they are now, and Virtual Eye, which soldiers can use to "digitally map" a room before they kick in the door.
  • #1
GTOM
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I wonder, do you know any book, or film, that don't just stick to modern, or WWII warfare, when imagine the battlefields of future? Sure energy shields are cool, but they are simply some super armor.

Personally i like mechas (although i think they shouldn't be that big) and i can see a role for them, but is there any new thing?
I think about cornershot/periscope rifle like, or smart weapons, drones, various kind of legged or tracked combat robots, wall-hack radars and stuff like that.
 
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  • #2
See:
http://www.businessinsider.com/darp...ng-drones-from-sea-floors-around-the-world-25

The goal of HACMS, or High-Assurance Cyber Military Systems, is to build software that will make it extremely hard for hackers to break into things like drones or military command and control networks.

The research agency is also working on high-resolution night vision cameras that shares the feed with everyone — so a commander can see exactly what his or her soldiers are seeing.
And the low-cost thermal imager program aims to deliver body-heat sensing optics that are 10 times cheaper than they are now. That means every soldier may one day have an unprecedented view of the battlefield at night, in insanely high-definition.

One project troops are sure to love is Virtual Eye, which DARPA developed in partnership with Nvidia. With just a couple of cameras and a tablet, soldiers can "digitally map" a room before they kick in the door.
War torn cities are incredibly dangerous, since soldiers never know what could be lurking around the corner. But Virtual Eye could save lives by showing troops exactly what they may encounter.
"You can throw a couple of cameras in there," Trung Tran, DARPA program manager, told Tech Insider. "And from the cameras we can create a complete 3D world."

But why walk in the door when you can climb onto the roof? DARPA's "Z-Man" concept is trying to turn ordinary troops into Spidermen that can climb up walls.

Perhaps before soldiers get to the battlefield, they'll be walking with "Warrior Web," which DARPA says reduces fatigue and will eventually look similar to a diver's wet suit.
Designed for troops hiking with 80 to 100 pound packs, the Warrior Web suit gives soldiers a boost as they walk and makes them less tired.

DARPA has a way better version of Google Translate, with its Broad Operational Langauge Translation (BOLT) system, which allows real-time conversation between English and Arabic.

It's not all "gee whiz" technology and gizmos. DARPA is a military agency, and they do research and testing on weapons too, like a missile that can go five times the speed of sound.
The Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept builds on DARPA's previous X-51 "WaveRider," an experimental unmanned aircraft that reached Mach 5 (3,806 mph) in 2013.

The Air Force is slowly embracing unmanned "drone" aircraft. But the Navy is going to see those changes as well, since DARPA's maritime efforts focus heavily on autonomous ships.
DARPA has a host of [unmanned systems other than Sea Hunter] designed to stop submarines as well. One system is designed to sit on the ocean floor with passive sonar tracking, while another called SHARK is basically a drone submarine.
 
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  • #4
GTOM said:
Great. I haven't thought about throwable cameras. Although many things written in that article depends on reliable wide band communications, while i think EMP will be dedicated to crush exactly that.
EMP is usually a momentary event. So you would have to store the cameras in a Faraday cage (such as a a metal foil bag).
Electronics can be (and often are) designed to operate in non-nuclear EMP.
 
  • #5
I guess you could go for some kind of matrix style takeover of the enemy's thought processes
 
  • #6
GTOM said:
I wonder, do you know any book, or film, that don't just stick to modern, or WWII warfare, when imagine the battlefields of future?

Ian Banks culture series has a wide range.
 
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  • #7
How far into the future do you want to go? We already have remote pilot drones launching missiles. Exo-skeletons for troops are not far off. We have firearms that almost selftarget(just designate target with laser and it won't fire till onboard computer decides its on target).
Further on we will probably have robots to do the combat role, unless TPTB decide we need to thin the herd. I guess projectile weapons will be with us for a long time yet. Laser and plasma blasters (man portable ) are just not really feasible yet. The biggest threat to us all is the use of chemical or biological weapons, regardless of conventions. Another big threat is the use of genetic manipulation to target certain groups. Easy to do now, hard to control.
 
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  • #8
I can't imagine that modern countries using infantry soldiers is going to continue much longer.

Hand held weapons also seems like something that will go away sooner rather than later. Neal Stephenson and Alastair Reynolds have some stuff about that kind of thing, but the problem with "modern warfare" is that it doesn't look like what someone who likes battle scenes thinks of as warfare.

A lot of fiction is driven by what sounds cool rather than what is most realistic. "Space marines".
 
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  • #9
Tiran said:
I can't imagine that modern countries using infantry soldiers is going to continue much longer...

People have been saying something like that for a very long time. There are books that are now very out of date where the authors criticize authors from earlier generations because they thought infantry would soon disappear. The Israelis were talking about all tank units before the Yom Kippur war.

Or you could argue that almost all United States (or NATO, etc) soldiers in the 1990s were transported in vehicles and carried missile weapons (rifles). So rather than "infantry" they were "dismounted cavalry" and "archers". That is a weird way to use the term. Bayonets are rarely used in combat. The better definitions of infantry is the soldiers who hold territory. Boots on the ground.

The trend for the United States in the 21st century has been increased use of "special forces". The name change is used because infantry who believe they are elite will fight better than infantry who believe they are not elite. If you drafted citizens and placed them in "cannon fodder platoons" it would result in military units that are inferior to "special forces" units even if you used an identical population and used nearly identical training. A "sniper team", "reconnaissance unit", or SEAL (sea, air, land) unit are alternate words for infantry. Rather than disappearing, infantry are now calling in the airstrikes and artillery. The Navy's capital ships are becoming infantry support tools. The infantry is the focal point and the only component that is indispensable.
 
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  • #10
stefan r said:
People have been saying something like that for a very long time. There are books that are now very out of date where the authors criticize authors from earlier generations because they thought infantry would soon disappear. The Israelis were talking about all tank units before the Yom Kippur war.

Or you could argue that almost all United States (or NATO, etc) soldiers in the 1990s were transported in vehicles and carried missile weapons (rifles). So rather than "infantry" they were "dismounted cavalry" and "archers". That is a weird way to use the term. Bayonets are rarely used in combat. The better definitions of infantry is the soldiers who hold territory. Boots on the ground.

The trend for the United States in the 21st century has been increased use of "special forces". The name change is used because infantry who believe they are elite will fight better than infantry who believe they are not elite. If you drafted citizens and placed them in "cannon fodder platoons" it would result in military units that are inferior to "special forces" units even if you used an identical population and used nearly identical training. A "sniper team", "reconnaissance unit", or SEAL (sea, air, land) unit are alternate words for infantry. Rather than disappearing, infantry are now calling in the airstrikes and artillery. The Navy's capital ships are becoming infantry support tools. The infantry is the focal point and the only component that is indispensable.
I don't think any of the previous generations had the ability to replace infantry with battery operated devices.

You're talking about the predicted end to infantry combat. I'm talking about replacing soldiers with devices. Very different.
 
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  • #11
The thing about autonomous weapons is in the end its basically a video game, let's say its a symmetrical combat scenario, both sides have advanced robotic weapons, you've just sent some expensive remote control toys to destroy each other, battlebots style.

The thing I don't understand is once one set of robots have beaten the other robots does the loosing side say oh well, we lost and go home like after a soccer game, or do they then keep fighting? At which point you're back to killing people. Basically does autonomous weaponry not just delay the inevitable that eventually people will have to fight because they are the ones that actually care if they win or lose?
 
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  • #12
essenmein said:
The thing about autonomous weapons is in the end its basically a video game, let's say its a symmetrical combat scenario, both sides have advanced robotic weapons, you've just sent some expensive remote control toys to destroy each other, battlebots style.

The thing I don't understand is once one set of robots have beaten the other robots does the loosing side say oh well, we lost and go home like after a soccer game, or do they then keep fighting? At which point you're back to killing people. Basically does autonomous weaponry not just delay the inevitable that eventually people will have to fight because they are the ones that actually care if they win or lose?
Infantry in modern times is used primarily against insurgencies and to remove enemy soldiers from within civilian populations to control territory. So I don't see "robot soldiers" fighting each other, I see them going into tunnels in Afghanistan.
 
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  • #13
Tiran said:
Infantry in modern times is used primarily against insurgencies and to remove enemy soldiers from within civilian populations to control territory. So I don't see "robot soldiers" fighting each other, I see them going into tunnels in Afghanistan.

I guess the topic was about future wars, the situation in Afghanistan is an asymmetric conflict, ie a well equipped "standard" military vs an insurgency, easy sell for autonomous weapons if the other side doesn't have the resources or technical ability to field them as well.

At some point though you do have to consider how it would play out fighting an equivalently equipped military, in which case, with both sides using autonomous weapons, it would be robot vs robot, at least at first.

I guess philosophically, if you have two militaries fighting each other with primarily robotic combatants, when do you win? If you surrender once your robots are defeated, since presumably human soldiers don't stand a change against the fighting machines, how is this different from using say a sports match instead? Does the whole argument in favor of autonomous weapons, ie keeping soldiers out of combat, only work if the other side doesn't have them?
 
  • #14
essenmein said:
I guess the topic was about future wars, the situation in Afghanistan is an asymmetric conflict, ie a well equipped "standard" military vs an insurgency, easy sell for autonomous weapons if the other side doesn't have the resources or technical ability to field them as well.

At some point though you do have to consider how it would play out fighting an equivalently equipped military, in which case, with both sides using autonomous weapons, it would be robot vs robot, at least at first.

I guess philosophically, if you have two militaries fighting each other with primarily robotic combatants, when do you win? If you surrender once your robots are defeated, since presumably human soldiers don't stand a change against the fighting machines, how is this different from using say a sports match instead? Does the whole argument in favor of autonomous weapons, ie keeping soldiers out of combat, only work if the other side doesn't have them?
I don't think the Russians or the US would consider the fighting in Afghanistan not war.

The fact that both sides in a conflict have drone soldiers shouldn't imply at all that the two will be having battles like in WWI. All war isn't about deciding whose military can beat the other, but whose military can capture and control valuable territory. It doesn't matter if an automated missile launcher downs a drone - what matters is that the drone is no longer available to attack its enemy's territory.

War is not like some chess game where the winner is decided on the battlefield. The winner is decided when soldiers take down the flag of the occupied territory after having won the right battles and liberated or suppressed the civilian population. That's why the US killed far more Vietnamese but lost the Vietnam war.
 
  • #15
Tiran said:
I don't think the Russians or the US would consider the fighting in Afghanistan not war.

Didn't say that it wasn't war, just that its an asymmetric conflict.
 
  • #16
essenmein said:
Didn't say that it wasn't war, just that its an asymmetric conflict.
It appeared that you believed "future wars" would not include asymmetric conflict. As far as I can tell, all wars that have winners devolve into asymmetric conflict, so you really can't separate "modern" warfare.
 
  • #17
Tiran said:
As far as I can tell, all wars that have winners devolve into asymmetric conflict, so you really can't separate "modern" warfare.

This is actually along the crux of what I was trying to get at, if you are fighting a war against an equal foe, if that is someone that doesn't want to lose, then even if you "win" they still try to win, or at least get some sort of revenge, ie insurgency/terrorism etc.

So basically a symmetric conflict eventually becomes asymmetric as one side is diminished.
 
  • #18
essenmein said:
This is actually along the crux of what I was trying to get at, if you are fighting a war against an equal foe, if that is someone that doesn't want to lose, then even if you "win" they still try to win, or at least get some sort of revenge, ie insurgency/terrorism etc.

So basically a symmetric conflict eventually becomes asymmetric as one side is diminished.
Only if the winning side pushes for a measurable victory. The first Gulf War was a wash - it ended with a return to the status quo. The US didn't have to hold enemy territory and Iraq retained a military. Such a war could have been automated and ended the same way.
 
  • #19
Tiran said:
I don't think any of the previous generations had the ability to replace infantry with battery operated devices.

You're talking about the predicted end to infantry combat. I'm talking about replacing soldiers with devices. Very different.

Battery powered infantry is still infantry.
Tiran said:
...I'm talking about replacing soldiers with devices. Very different.

This sounds like an example of organo-centrism. Are you implying that the AI soldiers are not people?

Remotely operated devices would still be infantry. The remote operators would still be members of an infantry unit. The daily experience would be significantly different but that was true between the American Civil War and WWI as well. The PTSD rate would be about the same and could be higher. Even if you could come up with modifications to prevent PTSD they would still be infantry.
 
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  • #20
stefan r said:
Battery powered infantry is still infantry.
Sort of, but the individual machines aren't "infantry soldiers". The might not even be articulated robots but clusters of small drones working in concert.

stefan r said:
This sounds like an example of organo-centrism. Are you implying that the AI soldiers are not people?
And that sounds like anthropomorphism. Is your garage door opener a person? It's doing a people job when you ask it to with your remote, right? Is a self driving car a person? How about a dog that fetches beer?
 
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  • #22
GTOM said:
I wonder, do you know any book, or film, that don't just stick to modern, or WWII warfare, when imagine the battlefields of future? Sure energy shields are cool, but they are simply some super armor.

Personally i like mechas (although i think they shouldn't be that big) and i can see a role for them, but is there any new thing?
I think about cornershot/periscope rifle like, or smart weapons, drones, various kind of legged or tracked combat robots, wall-hack radars and stuff like that.

The problem with miltary mechas is that, if war turns into the Battle of the Bots, no one will care about the outcome. If mechas were to replace infantry entirely on both sides, they could only be credible machines of war if they attacked civilian populations.

At this point, I hope that no one invokes the notion of "surgical precision" in military strikes. Such precision exists only in the words of military publicists--nothing in reality answers to the name "surgically precise military attack."
 
  • #23
Lren Zvsm said:
The problem with miltary mechas is that, if war turns into the Battle of the Bots, no one will care about the outcome. If mechas were to replace infantry entirely on both sides, they could only be credible machines of war if they attacked civilian populations.

At this point, I hope that no one invokes the notion of "surgical precision" in military strikes. Such precision exists only in the words of military publicists--nothing in reality answers to the name "surgically precise military attack."

Lasers and laser guided ammunition are very precise.
 
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  • #24
Lren Zvsm said:
At this point, I hope that no one invokes the notion of "surgical precision" in military strikes. Such precision exists only in the words of military publicists--nothing in reality answers to the name "surgically precise military attack."

In WW2 the civilian casualty ratio was about 2. In the Afghan and Iraq wars, it's below one. Precision-guided munitions are generally regarded to be 30-50x as effective as "conventional" ("formerly conventional" is probably more accurate). So precision is going up - even considering that precision munitions also encourage commanders to take riskier shots.
 
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  • #25
Vanadium 50 said:
In WW2 the civilian casualty ratio was about 2. In the Afghan and Iraq wars, it's below one. Precision-guided munitions are generally regarded to be 30-50x as effective as "conventional" ("formerly conventional" is probably more accurate). So precision is going up - even considering that precision munitions also encourage commanders to take riskier shots.
That's an improvement, but no military attack could live up to government hype.
 
  • #26
step 1: declare everyone in a building/village as an enemy of the state
step 2: blow up the building/village
step 3: declare 100% discretion when targeting enemies! All casualties were terrorists, or were harboring terrorists! hooray!
 
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  • #27
Tiran said:
I don't think any of the previous generations had the ability to replace infantry with battery operated devices.

You're talking about the predicted end to infantry combat. I'm talking about replacing soldiers with devices. Very different.

How smart would the machines have to be in order to function as effectively as human infantry?
 
  • #28
Sigh. Why this obsession with weapons? In the first book of the Foundation series, Asimov had his protagonist (Salvor Hardin) preach the maxim: "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent". Read the book in order to find out how he managed to handle hard conflicts that way.
 
  • #29
Svein said:
Sigh. Why this obsession with weapons? In the first book of the Foundation series, Asimov had his protagonist (Salvor Hardin) preach the maxim: "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent". Read the book in order to find out how he managed to handle hard conflicts that way.
If we grant the correctness of the phrase, then the Peter Principle comes into play.
 
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Related to Weapons of the future in Sci-Fi

What are some common weapons seen in sci-fi?

In sci-fi, some common weapons include laser guns, plasma rifles, sonic blasters, energy swords, and particle cannons. These weapons are often highly advanced and use futuristic technology to deliver powerful attacks.

How do these weapons work?

The specific mechanics behind these weapons vary, but they often involve the use of energy or particles to create a destructive force. For example, laser guns use focused beams of light to burn through targets, while plasma rifles use superheated plasma to melt through objects.

Are these weapons based on real science?

While some elements of these weapons may be based on real scientific principles, many of them are purely fictional and not currently possible with our current level of technology. However, advancements in science and technology may one day make these weapons a reality.

How do these weapons compare to modern day weapons?

Sci-fi weapons are often portrayed as being much more powerful and advanced than modern day weapons. They may have abilities such as unlimited ammo, the ability to shoot through walls, or even time travel. However, modern day weapons are still highly effective and have been continuously improved upon through scientific research.

Could these weapons ever be used in real life?

It is possible that some elements of sci-fi weapons could be used in real life, but it is unlikely that they will ever exist in the exact form seen in science fiction. The use of advanced technology in weapons is constantly evolving, but ethical and safety concerns may prevent the use of extremely destructive weapons in the future.

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