If By Land

India's new terror weapon: Hot chili peppers

The Indian military plans to weaponize the bhut jolokia, the world's hottest chili pepper, by using it in tear-gas grenades against terrorists, defense officials there have announced.

The notorious pepper from Bangladesh and northeast India, also known as the "ghost chili," is ranked by Guinness World Records as the most piquant of peppers. It has more than 1 million Scoville heat units, way beyond tabasco and jalapeno peppers, which pack 2,500 to 8,000 units.

"This is definitely going to be an effective non-toxic weapon because its pungent smell can choke terrorists and force them … Read more

Black Box keeps tabs on weapons

Firearms manufacturer FN Herstal has designed and built a Black Box that, when attached to a weapon, counts rounds fired, measures burst rate, and detects stoppages--information it then stores to facilitate more effective maintenance.

The device is housed in a module that can be molded to fit any weapon, according to FN. It comes with a non-replaceable 10-year battery, allowing the unit to record up to 100,000 rounds.

"The FN Black Box detects, discriminates, counts shots, measures burst rates and burst lengths, records firing sequences and detects stoppages due to failures to cycle," the Belgium company announced. &… Read more

Italian troops to button up against IEDs

The Italian Army has ordered 81 Hitrole Light remote controlled weapon stations for its Iveco Lince vehicles in response to increased IED attacks in Afghanistan, according to the Italian Ministry of Defense.

Italy has struggled to live up to its NATO commitments in the face of wide spread domestic opposition to the war in Afghanistan, and has gone to great lengths to keep casualties to an absolute minimum. One way to do that is to stay buttoned-up.

The Hitrole is one-man, electrically powered machine gun turret, manned by a gunner ensconced safely below. The gunner aims and fires using a … Read more

Remote-control gun turrets, made for Italy

The Italian army has ordered 81 Hitrole Light remote-controlled weapon stations for its Iveco Lince vehicles in response to increased attacks in Afghanistan employing improvised explosive devices, according to a statement last month from Italian Ministero della Difesa, or ministry of defense.

Italy has struggled to live up to its NATO commitments in the face of widespread domestic opposition to the war in Afghanistan, and it has gone to great lengths to keep casualties to an absolute minimum. One way to do that is to stay buttoned-up.

The Hitrole is an electrically powered machine gun turret, operated by a single … Read more

Military looks for better touch with PacBots

Advanced gamer hardware may soon allow PacBot operators to tell exactly how hard a robot's grip is, allowing soldiers to more safely pick up and handle fragile or dangerous objects, while also increasing their situational awareness.

Novint Technologies, a company that makes 3D touch controllers for video and computer games, announced last month that it has been awarded a subcontract to co-develop a remote touch kit (RTK) for the iRobot unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) PacBot.

The new RTK will allow soldiers to tactually sense the amount of force a robot is exerting from a safe operating distance--a first for … Read more

Robotics Rodeo puts unmanned tech front and center

FORT HOOD, Texas--Soldiers and civilian contractors braved the heat here this week for the first Robotics Rodeo to view and interact with a long lineup of robot systems and to give feedback on which ones could potentially find a place in the U.S. Army's robo stable.

Despite the hundreds of military robots that show up in concept or as prototypes on company Web sites and corporate reports, humans still do the fighting on the ground and it's likely to stay that way for a while. However, there's a growing niche for "the dirty, the dull, … Read more

New grenade launcher may work better at night

Ever since the Vietnam War, the U.S. Army has been trying to field a grenade launcher that duplicates the accuracy of that mythical grenadier and his M79 so compelling portrayed in Francis Ford Coppela's movie "Apocalypse Now."

The M320 40mm Grenade Launcher Module issued to the 82nd Airborne Division recently may do the trick. Specs for the M320 called for something more reliable, more ergonomic, more accurate, and safer than the so-so M203 launcher troops have been using for more than four decades. Heckler and Koch, who was awarded the contract, delivered a parcel of clever, … Read more

Deadly 'subcompacts' on hold

Crews hoping for more personal fire power when scrambling from a tank hatch or other confined conveyance will be disappointed to learn that the U.S. Army is putting the search for a "subcompact" carbine on hold, according to industry reports.

While searching for a possible alternative to the M4 carbine, the Army had also been looking at a new "personal defense weapon" to give drivers and crews a little more punch than the currently issued Beretta M9 9mm pistol. But that plan has followed the economy, and the military budget, down the drain, according to … Read more

Ultrasound cuff to stop internal bleeding on battlefield

Internal bleeding can cause irreversible haemorrhagic shock within 30 seconds or progressive shock within eight hours, either way, it's not good and the military wants a portable, noninvasive way to detect and stop it right on the battlefield.

To that end, the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has contracted with Siemens Healthcare, the University of Washington's Centre for Industrial and Medical Ultrasound and Texas A&M to develop something called the Deep Bleeder Acoustic Coagulation cuff (DBAC). The cuff is a semi-automated, ultrasound device designed to cut blood loss and shock resulting from combat limb injuries, … Read more