Seven Of America's Most Terrifying Weapons
USA

Seven Of America's Most Terrifying Weapons

With a defence budget of just under $600 billion (£475bn) last year - well over double that of China, the world's second largest military...

Seven Of America's Most Terrifying Weapons
With a defence budget of just under $600 billion (£475bn) last year - well over double that of China, the world's second largest military spender - perhaps it isn't hugely surprising that the US has a few technological tricks up its sleeve.
 
We've taken a look at seven of America's most fearsome but less well-known weapons, some of which seem to blur the lines between science fiction and reality.
 
If you'd like to know more about any of the technology in the list, just click the links...
 
 

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

 
The hypersonic X-51A Waverider is a radical new missile technology being developed by the US military. Due to go into service in 2025, the Pentagon believes it will be able "to strike virtually anywhere on the face of the Earth within 60 minutes".
 
It's called 'Waverider' because it compresses air from its own forward motion, and rides on its own shockwaves.
 
 

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

 
The Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System (MAARS) is effectively a miniature tank, designed to support troops on the battlefield and help with reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition. 
 
It's also armed with an M240B machine gun and four M203 grenade launchers.
 
 

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

 
Bringing Dr. Evil's dreams to life... Meet the laser weapon system (LaWS). Capable of hitting small, speeding, oncoming targets at sea, or shooting them out of the sky, lasers also cost less to build, install and fire than traditional kinetic weapons, like multimillion-dollar missiles.
 
The system is operated by a video-game like controller, keeping things as simple as possible for the operator...
 
 

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

 
The US military is currently experimenting with new 3-D printed technology which could in future take to the sky like a swarm of robotic locusts.
 
With inch-wide propellers and weighing roughly a pound (450 grams) each, the 'micro-drones' could use situational awareness to create a swarm, before being used for surveillance or as a way of confusing enemy forces.
 
Earlier this year the US successfully tested the technology - by shooting it out of an F-16 (pictured above) moving at 430 mph, 2,000 feet above the Earth's surface.
 
 

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

 
Capable of firing a projectile at seven times the speed of sound, the US Navy's experimental railgun will reportedly be installed on the new state-of-the-art stealth Zumwalt-class destroyer USS Lyndon B. Johnson.
 
BAE Systems, who are developing the railgun, claim it will be able to hit targets 110 miles away. The US Navy, meanwhile, believe it will be a highly-effective low-cost replacement for the conventional missiles currently in use.
 
The gun will be able to sling 'slugs' over huge distances, at speeds up to Mach 7, multiple times a minute, with pinpoint accuracy. The slugs don't need explosive tips, as their destructive power comes from the force and speed with which they hit the target.
 
 

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

 
With a number of issues having prevented American company TrackingPoint's self-aiming rifle from really taking off - it's admittedly the least convincing inclusion on the list.
 
But the technological potential is there for all to see. Inspired by the same tracking and lock-on technology found in fighter jets, the rifles allegedly offer eight times more accuracy than those of an elite marksman, with the ability to hit targets moving up to 20mph. 
 
The US Army was interested - so much so that it bought six for testing.
 
The downsides: Critics have questioned the ethics of using such a rifle and voiced concerns that they could be remotely hacked to disable the weapon or even change its target - some of the main reasons the rifles aren’t commonly found on the battlefield today. But who knows where the future will lead...
 
 
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
 
Ever wondered how navies will sink ships in the future? The US military is currently working on just that.
 
The Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) is intended to serve as a replacement for the Harpoon, which has been in operation since 1977. 
 
A stealthy cruise missile, it's range is expected to be over 230 miles (the Harpoon's was 67 miles). It will also carry a 1,000lb warhead, more than twice that of the Harpoon.
 
But what separates it from its predecessors is its autonomy. After naval personnel tell the missile where an enemy fleet is and which ship to strike, it takes care of everything else.
 
Fancy finding out what the British military's got up its sleeves? Just click below...