Military Technology – some sci-fi is nearing reality – what will the next 24 years bring?

Railguns sound like they’re straight out of a Schwarzenegger action movie.

Well, they are – but the reality is that railguns, along with other high-tech weapons such as lasers or hypersonic weapons, are already here.

The U.S. military has actually been testing lasers and railguns for some time, and has now started to mount 30-kW infrared solid-state laser systems on aircraft and gunships. Lockheed has also signed a $147 million contract to build hypersonic weapons that will fire at Mach 20, intercepting targets in under an hour using pure kinetic force.

Visualizing the Future of Military Technology

Today’s infographic comes from Futurism, showing the technological advancements we can expect to materialize in the battlefield over the coming decades.

Military Technology

The future of military technology is here, and it seems to borrow ideas right out of well-known movies such as Star Trek or Eraser.

Here’s the scoop on the advanced weapons systems of tomorrow:

Lasers: The military refers to these as directed-energy weapons (DEWs), and they are exactly what they sound like – lasers that emit highly focused energy to damage or incapacitate a target. In development for 20 roughly years, the circumstances seem to be more promising than ever for DEWs. The need is there, as targets such as groups of small drones could become common in the future. Meanwhile, the technology has finally caught up to the concept – using fiber instead of chemicals means military lasers can be smaller and more powerful.

Railguns: Electromagnetic railguns can fire projectiles at a speed of 4,600 mph (Mach 6). These projectiles use no explosive warheads or payloads, relying solely on extreme kinetic force to damage a target. Current ships, such as the Zumwalt-class destroyers are being designed to accommodate these weapons, and they could also be potentially scaled down for use in tanks.

Hypersonic weapons: Launched from land, sea, or air, hypersonic weapons are intended to be used for first strike applications, hitting targets in under an hour. Using Tactical Boost Glide (TBG) technology, hypersonic weapons are boosted to very high altitudes, where they are then accelerated to speeds of 21,000 mph (Mach 20). It should be noted that China and Russia are both also testing similar weapons systems.

By Jeff Desjardins, Visual Capitalist