More on the frontier of military technology

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock
Image courtesy of Adobe Stock

Several intriguing articles on military forces using technology:

  • ISIS using larger drones with larger payloads
  • Marine Corps wants to experiment with giving an entire battalion suppressors for all their weapons
  • Pakistan developing second strike capability by putting nuke loaded cruise missiles on diesel subs
  • Lots of jobs in the US military will be replaced by robots

2/21 – Washington Post – Use of weaponized drones by ISIS spurs terrorism fears – In Iraq, Islamic State is working with drones above the quadcopter size. With wingspans of about 6 feet, the drone can carry a mortar round at about three pounds instead of a hand grenade.

IS has posted videos of multiple uses of the drones to drop explosives. The frequency of offensive use of the drones is high enough that Iraqi troops must scan the scan sky for drones and take cover when one is spotted.

Captured documents indicate IS is doing research to develop new drones and modify off-the-shelf versions.

This is a significant step up from my previous discussion of ISIS’ drone usage. On January 30, I mentioned:

1/15 – Popular Science – ISIS is Dropping Bombs With Drones in Iraq – Don’t worry too much, yet. It’s not that ISIS has a Reaper knockoff with reverse engineered Hellfire missiles. Instead, they have off-the-shelf quadcopters that have a release mechanism that can drop a grenade inaccurately.

Suicide driven car bombs, carrying thousands of pounds of explosives, are a far more serious threat.

On the other hand, grenade dropping quadcopters are a scary first step.

11/22 – – Corps Wants to Put Silencer on a Whole Infantry Battalion – (Should be called suppressors instead of silencers, but that is a concept that headline writers will take a long time to learn.)

Here is an intriguing experiment – equip an entire marine battalion with suppressors for their weapons, from the 5.56 carbines up to the 50 cal guns. The unit will be deploying overseas soon. Idea is this will improve coordination in units by commanders and take away the illusion of effectiveness created merely by the noise of fire. Not likely that I will read about the results ever but would be fun to find out how this works.

1/13 – The Drive – Pakistan Closer To Nuclear Second-Strike Capability After Sub Missile Test – Pakistan has successfully launched a cruise missile from a sub that is capable of carrying a nuclear weapon. This now provides them a second-strike capability.

The SLCM (that’s cruise missile instead of ballistic missile following the submarine launched) Babur-3 is a derivation of their land-launched Babur-2, which was designed by reverse-engineering a U.S. Tomahawk cruise missile that crash landed in Pakistan.

Pakistan has three diesel-electric subs, which they got from the French. Article says deployment details are unknown, such as what the command-and-control system looks like and whether one of the three subs will be permanently on patrol or whether the three will be ready for surge deployment when situations get tense.

Article explains the best second-strike capability is to put SLBMs on a nuclear powered sub. The “poor man’s” option (as the article says) is to have SLCMs on a diesel sub.

So having three diesel subs with the Babur-3 puts Pakistan in the game. They will be getting 8 more diesel subs from China, which will increase their second-strike capability.

Article says India has a large enough sub fleet with sufficient anti-sub capability that they will be able to keep an eye on the Pakistani subs. On the other hand, that ties down your fleet, keeping those platforms from doing anything else.

2/20 – San Diego Union-Tribune – Robots poised to take over a wide range of military jobs – A lot of non-combat jobs are going to be replaced with robots.

A few examples – –  Consider having the lead vehicle in a convoy being driven by a human but all the other vehicles driven by robots which follows the vehicle in front of them. The newest littoral combat ship, the Zumwalt, is staffed with one-half the sailors needed for a comparable combat ship. A robot at the depot level is able to clean corrosion off of exquisitely expensive parts successfully and in a fraction of the time for a human to do so.

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