The technologies sought by the Defense Science Board (DSB) would be helpful in any conflict scenario, but the Board is clearly not anticipating an Iraq- or Afghanistan-style occupation. Technologies in at similar readiness levels more useful in those scenarios — personal heads-up displays, universal translators, networked drones airborne for years at a time, to name a few — are missing. Let’s hope we don’t end up in one of those occupation scenarios again. [Huh? Is the a “heads up?”]
Networks of unmanned submarines. Subsonic cruise missiles with intercontinental range. Radios powered by decaying plutonium. Those are just a few of the technologies that the Pentagon‘s top scientific advisory panel wants to see in troops’ hands by 2030.
Most of the technology already exists in some form, largely experimental or conceptual. Networked unmanned submarines is not a new idea – defense companies will happily sell you one of a dozen unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), the key is to make them bigger, more advanced, and digitally tie them together instead of sending them off one at a time on short-range missions. Likewise, cruise missiles already exist, but tripling their range would allow a ship in Norfolk harbor to strike targets off Alaska. Plutonium-powered electronics are occasionally used by NASA to power spacecraft on long-distance missions, but nobody’s bothered to build them in quantity.
View original post 576 more words