From AK-47 to Flying Car!


By Debbie Gregory.

Kalashnikov Concern is the largest arms manufacturer in Russia, and produces a wide range civilian and military weapons, including the AK-47 assault rifle, which became a staple of fighting forces around the world.

Kalashnikov Concern has also channeled its ingenuity to unusual military-grade technology, which now includes a flying car!

The slender metal vehicle, which is more like a hovercycle than a car, bears a close resemblance to the speeder bikes from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. It also resembles the Kitty Hawk Flyer, a prototype hovercraft funded by Google co-founder Larry Page.

As seen in a promotional video released last month, the unnamed vehicle is fully electric, powered by batteries located underneath the driver, which are linked to sixteen rotors. The car is controlled using two joysticks situated in front of the driving seat.

The vehicle is still in very early stages of development, with a rough and exposed appearance, although the video also appears to show the design plans that are in place for the hovering car.

Obviously, the prototype is far from battle-ready, lacking both armor and weaponry, which will necessitate design tweaks to accommodate for the additional weight.

The U.S. military has been working on its own hoverbike with Malloy Aeronautics, which they showed off in a successful flight demo earlier this year. The Malloy Hoverbike is a single seater turbo-fan powered quadrocopter developed in 2006 by Chris Malloy, and has been contracted by an American engineering firm to produce such bikes for the United States Department of Defense.

Either way, it seems possible we’ll see the first few of these skeletal hovercycles skimming above land in the near future.

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Military Connection: Boeing to Develop Plasma “Force Field”


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By Debbie Gregory.

Over the course of our technological progression, many tangible products have developed from concepts that were once just fantastical dreams. Previously, these ideas could only be found in the pages of books and in the make believe universes created for the big and small screens. Objects such as submarines, cell phones, airplanes, robots, computers, tablets, and video chatting are just a few examples of science fiction that became reality. Soon, we could be able to add “force fields” to the list.

In March, 2015, Boeing was granted a patent for a defense system that functions much like a plasma force field, which, for now, is just fantasy. But instead of being equipped on a space craft to deflect proton projectiles or other space weaponry, Boeing intends that this system will be mounted on ground vehicles or on high-value buildings.

Boeing’s system, which hasn’t been built yet, is not intended to defend against direct hits from missiles, bombs or bullets. It also won’t offer protection from the shrapnel flung by the explosive impacts caused by those weapons. Instead, the Boeing system will protect the high value unit or building from the shock waves caused by nearby explosions.

The system will include a sensor designed to detect incidents that produce shock waves, such as an explosion. When the sensor detects a shock wave, it will determine the appropriate direction and strength needed to protect the asset it is defending. Boeing intends to use a combination of lasers, electricity and microwaves to rapidly heat up the air between the asset and any nearby explosion. The heat will create a plasma shield that will be able to absorb or deflect the energy from the incoming shock wave. The plasma shield will not permanently surround the protected asset, but will only materialize for short durations after the sensor detects an event.

Boeing filed for the patent in 2012. The United Kingdom’s Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), which operates much like our DOD’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), announced that they were working on a similar shield system in 2010. There is no timeline for the completion or active testing for any of these systems.

Only time will tell what other technological advances will be added to our world. The future is closer than we think, as reality is constantly changed by concepts once found only in the imagination.

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Military Connection: Boeing to Develop Plasma “Force Field” by Debbie Gregory