From railguns to AK knockoffs – Pentagon’s weapons shopping cart

While requesting $71.4 billion to fund the research and development of futuristic weapons for the US military, the Pentagon is turning to Soviet-era weapons for its proxies in Syria – and trying to get even more bang for the buck by buying Bulgarian.

Unveiling the military’s 2017 budget proposal, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter spoke of the importance of weapons research in tackling threats 10, 20 or 30 years down the road. Carter mentioned sci-fi-sounding technologies such as miniature drones, “swarming autonomous vehicles,” and railguns, which the US military is looking to adopt in the coming years.

The US Navy is already testing energy weapons as a point-defense system to bring down missiles and drones, and is looking to add railguns to the mix. A staple of science-fiction storytelling, the railguns – or Gauss rifles – use magnetic rails to launch shells at three times the speed of current naval cannons, far faster than cruise missiles. Prototype railguns are supposed to be installed aboard the USS Zumwalt, an experimental destroyer the size of a WW1 battleship currently undergoing sea trials.

Another futuristic system likely to cost the Pentagon millions is the 'Black Hornet.' The six-inch (16 cm) hand-held drone has a range of about a mile (1.6 kilometers), weighs less than an ounce, and carries three cameras for scouting in any weather – day or night. Officially designated UAS PD-100, the 'Black Hornet' is made by the Norwegian company Prox Dynamics, and sold through the Dutch-based consultancy Broadfield Security Services (BSS)...


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