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Night Vision, GPS, E-Bombs Poised for Debut

Photonics.com
Mar 2003
WASHINGTON, March 19 -- The Washington Post reported today that night-vision gadgetry could prove to be one of the most important advantages for American forces, including night-vision goggles to help fighter pilots with missions in the darkness, and for ground troops, monocular night-vision goggles that cover only one eye -- a design that improves depth perception for wearers and prevents troops from being "temporarily blinded by bright artillery fire."

The Post said the ability of US troops to know exactly where friendly forces are located is boosted by the wider availability of Global Positioning Systems for soldiers and better thermal sensors in Army tanks and scouting vehicles.

"Ninety percent of the weapons being used this time are precision-guided as opposed to nine percent" in 1991, Col. Christopher Langton of the International Institute for Strategic Studies told Reuters. "The great revolution in this coming war is the ability to see the battlefield," retired Maj. Gen. Robert Scales, former commandant of the Army War College, told The Associated Press. "Air superiority now means you have an unblinking eye in the sky that verifies what's down below."

Another addition to the military tool kit is the "e-bomb," an explosive device that discharges a flood of electromagnetic pulses to disable nearby electric circuits and jam telecom networks, the Post said. "New microwave-type beams have the potential to fry electronic circuits. A war with Iraq could allow the United States to debut a new -- and perhaps revolutionary -- class of weapons that can cripple an enemy's ability to fight without harming people or destroying buildings. They are known collectively as 'high-powered microwave weapons.' They use bursts of electromagnetic energy, delivered by low-impact bombs or 'ray gun'-like devices, to disable or destroy the electronics that control everything from an enemy's radar to its laptops."



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