10 Most Interesting Military Technology News 2023

 It's not December and it's a tradition here to round up the most interesting news that happened throughout the year. As is tradition now start with the list of 10 Most Interesting Military Technology News 2022 first as an appetizer. This year's military technology news is dominated by the use of AI and drones which are seen to be increasingly dominant in replacing human soldiers on the battlefield in the future.

1. Russia Decommissions World's Largest Submarine

In the decade of the 80s, the Typhoon class submarine belonging to the Soviet Union became popular after being featured in the novel The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy. It was later filmed which further increased the public's knowledge of the largest submarine ever produced in world history which was larger in size than a World War II aircraft carrier.

A total of six Typhoons were built but none are currently operational after the last Dmitry Donskoy was decommissioned last February by the Russian Navy. The prohibitive cost of operation and the lack of need for giant submarines with the ability to launch ballistic nuclear missiles made them obsolete.

What makes the Typhoon submarine unique is that it is the only one that has a swimming pool for the crew and has a double hull. A Typhoon also has enough ballistic nuclear missile capacity to wipe out human civilization. There was once a plan to convert the current submarine into a cargo ship.

2. America Wants to Build a Magneto Propulsion Submarine Like Red October

Staying with the Typhoon-class submarines, the fictional submarine Red October uses a silent magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) propulsion system. Many may not realize MHD technology has been around for over seven decades but size constraints and energy efficiency keep it from being widely used.

However, DARPA, an agency that encourages new technology users in the United States, has started the Principles of Undersea Magnetohydrodynamic Pumps (PUMP) program to realize MHD technology for ships and even submarines for military use.

The MHD system produces thrust through an electromagnetic system. The advantage of MHD is that it does not have any moving mechanical components. A magnetic field is used to push water into a tube. Imagine a jet engine but without a compressor system, fuel to burn or a spinning fan.

3. US Military Tests Use of Generative AI

The United States military has confirmed it is testing five generative AIs with this multi-language model (LLM) trained using classified military data. In one test, the AI was able to provide an answer to a given problem within 10 minutes. Before AI was used, answers were only received after a few hours.

The process of obtaining information using AI will allow decisions to be made when conducting operations on the battlefield faster. The test will be carried out until July 27 with the initial stage being asked to provide answers to small conflicts before being given more complex problems involving the use of assets and weapons on the battlefield.

4. USAF Selects BWB Body-cum-Wing Cargo Aircraft Design

BWB JetZero aircraft concept

According to studies by Boeing and Airbus, aircraft with a body that combines wings or in English blended wing body (BWB) can reduce fuel consumption. At the same time more cargo can be carried than conventional aircraft designs. The United States Air Force (USAF) last week selected the firm JetZero as the winner of the contract to build a prototype BWB aircraft for their use.

The chosen design has a wide body, short wings and two engines placed at the rear of the aircraft body. BWB aircraft can reduce fuel consumption by up to 50%, reduce air friction by up to 30% and carry more cargo for the fuel burned. Another advantage is that with the engine mounted on top, it can operate from unpaved runways without the risk of FOD.

5. US Army Develops Smart Watch To Detect Disease

To help early detection of disease among military personnel, the United States Department of Defense (DOD) developed the Rapid Assessment of Threat Exposure (RATE) project. RATE is a wearable device that can detect various types of diseases early through biometric readings of the wearer's body. Algorithms read pulse reading data, temperature and various other inputs to predict the user's health level. A project developed since August 2020 to successfully detect Covid-19 earlier.

It has now been given an additional $10 million in funding to collect more data and provide 4500 wearable devices to Air Force (USAF) personnel. The RATE wearable device successfully detects infectious diseases such as Covid-19 up to 2.3 days earlier. RATE's long-term plan is that it can be used on a variety of wearable devices but in the testing phase Garmin smartwatches and smart rings are being used.

6. Japan Develops Commercial Satellite Defense System

In Tom Clancy's acclaimed novel Red Storm Rising, the United States shoots down a Soviet spy satellite as war breaks out in Germany. The once fictional scenario is about to become a reality after Russia threatened to shoot down a European communications satellite for helping Ukraine. With satellites being an important communication system, satellite defense systems now need to be developed.

Northrop Grumman and IHI Corporation announced a collaboration to develop a defense satellite that can prevent attacks on Japanese commercial satellites. The Space Domain Awareness (SDA) satellite will use a Northrop Grumman design with a propulsion system by IHI. Compared to normal satellites, SDA has the ability to move more freely in orbit than normal satellites.

7. Australia Develops Anti-Tank Laser Weapons

Fans of the Command and Conquer Red Alert 2 series are familiar with the Prism Tank which has the ability to destroy enemy units using lasers. Several laser systems have been developed by the United States and Israel with success over the past five years. But Australia has loftier dreams after debuting a tank-destroying laser weapon last May.

An AUD$12.9 million contract was awarded to Australia's QinetiQ by the Australian Ministry of Defense to develop a prototype of this high-powered laser weapon. Details about the laser's power, size and the platform it will be used on are still not being refined at this time. Existing laser weapons are only capable of shooting down drones and deflecting missiles or mortars.

8. The Replicator Program Controls a Fleet of Thousands of Drones Using AI

Kratos' XQ-58A Valkyrie drone launches missiles

War involving robots is no longer science fiction as it has already happened in the Nagorno-Karabakh and Ukraine conflicts. Both of these conflicts opened the eyes of military experts to see how existing advanced technology could be broken by cheap modified commercial drones. The United States last August announced their Replicator Program which aims to build thousands of drones with artificial intelligence (AI) that will help them on the battlefield of the future.

This fleet of drones with AI will consist of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), unmanned aerial vehicles (USVs), unmanned aerial vehicles (UGVs) and even unmanned aerial vehicles (UUVs) that can perform dangerous one-way missions without the involvement of human military personnel. The Replicator is seen as an answer to China which is multiplying the amount of machinery, ships, aircraft and weapon systems to control the South China Sea area which is claimed as theirs. The United States hopes the Replicator Program will be operational in as early as 24 months.

Detailed information about the Replicator Project is still vague but it will certainly involve existing systems such as the XQ-58 Valkyrie, Skyborg, Unmanned Influence Sweep System (UISS) and the Manta Ray Program that has been announced before under the management of DARPA.

9. TAI TF-X Fighter Aircraft From Turkey Shown – Once Offered To Malaysia

The fifth generation TAI KAAN (previously TAI TF-X) fighter jet was unveiled in March. It meets Turkiye's target to show the first prototype in 2023 before it undergoes several commissioning tests before the first flight takes place in 2026.

The TF-X was developed independently by Turkiye after they were prevented from buying the F-35 aircraft by the United States following the purchase of the S400 missile system from Russia. In terms of design, the TAI KAAN is similar to the design of the United States F-22 and South Korea's KAI KF-21. The ability of the aircraft is also expected to be the same as the ability of a supercruise as well as weapons stored in the body to reduce radar cross-section. Two years ago Turkiye had invited Malaysia to be involved in the development of TF-X.

10. The Singapore Air Force Will Be The First To Use Automatic Refueling Aircraft

The ability to refuel while still in the air was invented in 1923 by the United States. After more than 100 years of developing this technology, the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) will be the first in the world to use an automatic aerial refueling system.

The Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft has performed more than 500 refueling operations on the RSAF's F-15SG, F-16 and A330 MRTT aircraft on Og

Airbus' automatic refueling system has been tested since 2020. It can operate at night and even in bad weather conditions. The automatic filling process reduces stress on human operators and speeds up the process of refueling the aircraft when needed.

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