In the words of Tony Stark, “The best weapon is one you never have to fire.”  We’ve come a long way since sticks and stones, and it’s almost inconceivable that only a few hundred years ago, Man was still waging war with bows, arrows, cannons, and muskets. Modern militaries are constantly in the process of developing new weapons, some of which will definitely make some mouths drop. We thought it would be fun to take a closer look at the most amazing offensive and defensive weapons currently in the works, in this episode of The Infographics Show; Top 10 Weapons of the Future.

10. High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System or HELLADS is a system that will use a 150 kW laser, powered by a lithium-ion battery, to destroy any rocket, missile, artillery shell or mortar heading towards its bases. It will also be offered, apart from a standing structure, as an airplane-mounted system. General Atomics stated in 2015 that the preliminary tests had been passed and that issues with the quality and accuracy of the laser beam have been overcome. This project is presently being financed by The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA, and the plan is to have the laser model mounted on the drone Avenger by 2018.

9. Guided .50 caliber bullet. This bullet is being developed by DARPA’s Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (or EXACTO) and has already completed its first round of testing. It will be able to move and change course to hit targets. This will be used specifically for snipers, but once perfected, will be applicable anywhere. The live-fire tests have shown the bullet to maneuver in-flight to targets. The point is to avoid the sniper’s need to adjust for weather and wind, and to have these adjustments built into the rifle itself. The press release accompanying the tests stated, “True to DARPA’s mission, EXACTO has demonstrated what was once thought impossible: the continuous guidance of a small-caliber bullet to target. A live-fire demonstration from a standard rifle showed that EXACTO is able to hit moving and evading targets with extreme accuracy at sniper ranges unachievable with traditional rounds. Fitting EXACTO’s guidance capabilities into a small .50-caliber gun is a major breakthrough and opens the door to what could be possible in future guided projectiles across all calibers.”

8. Quantum Stealth. Definitely one of the stranger developments in the field of camouflage, Quantum Stealth technology is a form of electro-optical camouflage that strives to make its wearer invisible. Duke University and StealthIR are two institutions currently engaged in research on bending light beams around the wearer. This is meant to “fool” night vision goggles and long distance optical equipment rather than an up-close viewer. This new technology will manipulate light around the wearer so as to fool even the unaided eye at close range.  According to David Schurig of Duke University, more crude versions of this have been out for some time, and that microwave radiation as a means of detection will soon be rendered obsolete. The purpose is to bend light around the object rather than bouncing it off. Bouncing light rays is how the human eye sees anything. A fabric that can redirect light can deprive the eye of the light needed for sight. The process is called “negative refraction” which moves the light in an unnatural way. So far, this has only worked at great expense and is not ready to be made into a material any time soon.  

7. The Long Range Strike Bomber. The US Air Force is currently developing the B-21 Raider. It will be able to deliver a bomb deep inside enemy territory under stealth cloaking. Many of the details are highly classified, but they should be ready for operation by roughly 2025. The purpose of the bomber is to invisibly reach any point on Earth. It will have the high payload capacity of the old B-1, but with far greater range. It will also contain an advanced air-defense system on board that could shoot down planes from hundreds of miles away. The US Air Force plans to purchase between 80-100 LRS-B aircraft at a cost of $550 million each.

6. Electromagnetic Rail Gun. The Electromagnetic or EM Railgun launcher replaces fuel or gunpowder to shoot projectiles and uses electricity instead. Magnetic fields created by high electrical currents accelerate a sliding metal conductor, or armature, between two rails to launch projectiles at 4,500 mph (7240 kmh) or MACH 6. Inside each projectile, there are navigation sensors and processors for guidance, navigation, and control. The railguns will most likely be equipped on large naval units. The absence of high explosives necessary for gunpowder-based munitions on ships will improve safety for sailors and marines. Each projectile can hit a target over 100 miles away. If you would like to see the Rail Gun in action, we’ve created a second channel called The Military Show, featuring live footage of the United States Military. The link will be displayed at the end of the video and in the description. This is also probably a good reminder to subscribe to this channel if you want to see more videos like this.

5. X-51 WaveRider is a 14 foot unmanned scramjet aircraft capable of traveling at MACH 5 at 70,000 feet (21km), meaning that a report of enemy activity in a region could be instantly acted upon. In its current form, the X-51 does not carry explosives and relies on its kinetic energy to destroy enemy targets.  The X-51 will be very difficult to intercept by air defense systems due to its speed. The U.S. Air Force and DARPA are working together to complete the X-51 WaveRider by 2023.

4. The centrifugal gun. Like the Electromagnetic Rail Gun, the centrifugal gun is also designed to replace fuel or gunpowder as the accelerant for heavier automatic weapons. The popular term for it is the Dread Gun, and it’s basically a machine gun capable of firing 120,000 rounds a minute. Because it uses force, it has no muzzle, noise, or flash. And because it doesn’t really look like a gun at all, it can be mounted pretty much anywhere. It is a mass of metal which has no heat signature or recoil, and each bullet follows the other with only 1/32nd of an inch in between. DREAD’s ammunition will be .308 and .50 caliber round metal balls that will be spun out of the weapon at speeds as high as 8,000 feet per second. DREAD’s complete lack of recoil will allow it to be fired from space-based platforms, i.e. satellites, without knocking them off of their respective orbital paths. Using non-lethal rounds, it could potentially revolutionize riot control.

3. The sonic blaster or Thunder Generator. This is an innovation that can change warfare entirely. In essence, these are cannon fired shock waves. Think Arclight from “X-Men: The Last Stand,” only much, much more destructive! Crude versions of this have been used in the past, but a military grade sonic blaster is still in development. The canon uses oil-based fuel systems to generate the wave, increasing in intensity as it travels the length of the cannon barrel. A burst can travel up to 1.25 miles a second (2,000 meters) and can be fired in 60-100 bursts per minute. Being hit with a wave has both physiological and psychological effects. It is technically harmless, but it feels the same as being shot. At a higher rate of intensity, it can cause death with greater efficiency than a bullet. Presently, Israel is building a non-lethal version of this to control riots and strengthen border security, in effect replacing rubber bullets.

2. The “Zombie Gun.” No, it’s not a gun that kill zombies; it’s a gun that turns people into zombies. The Russians are presently testing this low-frequency radiation weapon that, at certain levels, can affect brain cells and thus psychical states. It is also possible to transmit suggestions to enemies. More crudely, this radio blast can be used to temporarily disable higher cognitive functions in its target. As a lethal weapon, it can be used to burn its target from the inside. The radiation burst can affect the central nervous system and, in effect, short circuit executive functions of the brain, thereby turning its victim into a zombie. For decades, military technologists have been working to develop weapons that can incapacitate a person by attacking the central nervous system, and previous research has shown that low-frequency waves or beams can affect brain cells, alter psychological states and make it possible to transmit suggestions into someone’s thought processes.

1. The “powered exoskeleton.” This technology, which can be used for purposes other than the military, is meant to give superhuman powers to its users. Presently, DARPA is testing a military version of this set of powered cables to provide mechanical assistance to one’s muscles. The exoskeleton was formulated by Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. In a sense, its purpose was to create a “supersoldier” that can march long distances without becoming tired. Also, the new liquid armor being tested can stop a bullet. The military version of the exoskeleton features a liquid armor that instantly becomes solid upon the exertion of any force. The Raytheon version makes all physical exertion seem 17 times less than what it really is. The system uses flexible hoses that increase freedom of movement and agility, and it features powered limbs providing superhuman strength to its wearer. Think Colonel Quaritch in Avatar, kicking Jake Sully’s ass.  So there you have it! The future of weaponry is both scary and amazing! Which weapon on this list strikes you as the most exciting? Is there a weapon in development that you’ve heard of that we didn’t list? Let us know in the comments! And as we promised, here’s a link to real life footage of the Electromagnetic Rail Gun…click it! It’s pretty freaking amazing!