Advanced Weaponry

Strategic Trends

In coming years, soldiers who duck for cover—one of the oldest ploys in combat—will no longer be offered the sanctuary it has given in centuries past.

While cyber weapons have taken center stage in the news of late, the world’s military establishments are still developing new weapons that will do massive physical damage to any adversary that comes their way. The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, better known as DARPA, is developing weapons using the newest technology, many of which are still classified.

The three basic elements of the art of warfare are mobility, firepower, and security. While cyber security1 encompasses some of these aspects, new weapons to control the land, seas, and air are still needed.

DARPA is coordinating the activities of several countries to bring innovative weapons into the battle space. Traditional weapons are being refined and enhanced and have capabilities war planners of a generation ago only dreamed of.

The refinement of weapons, accordingly, must be studied against a background of whole systems of penetration and defense. Weapons alone seldom determine the issue of battle, particularly when both sides are evenly matched. The skill with which strategy and tactics were deployed, the spirit of the commander in directing his troops, and the precision with which the troops handled their weapons were even decisive factors in many of the battles mentioned in the Bible. Ezekiel speaks of God putting hooks into the jaws of the Scythians2 and drawing them into a world confrontation, along with all their “army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords.”3

One must remember the vocabulary used in Bible translations. Modern warfare may put a completely different spin on the translation of the verses. In the above verse, the word “horses” has also been translated “bird” or “chariot rider.” In today’s vernacular, “helicopter” and “tank commander” could easily be used instead of these words. (Helicopters are known as “birds” by their pilots and Merkava, the name of Israel’s main battle tank, means “chariot.”)

Also, could the recent oil and gas discoveries off the coast of Israel be the spoils that are used to set the hooks in the jaws of a Russia that, by some accounts, is running out of these resources?

The weapons of today are truly frightening in their sophistication and destructive power.


The name of this weapon invokes impressions of the power this device generates. HELLADS is an acronym for High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System. HELLADS is an advanced laser system that is being designed to “harness the speed and power of light to counter multiple threats.”

What sets this weapon apart is its size. This laser is designed to be a 150-kilowatt weapon that’s light enough to attach to a fighter jet. HELLADS will integrate onto tactical aircraft to defend against and defeat ground threats with minimal collateral damage.

The laboratory testing on the weapons system has been completed using a single laser module that successfully demonstrated the ability to achieve high power and beam quality from a significantly lighter and smaller laser. HELLADS development has been scheduled to be completed at the White Sands Missile Range for ground testing against rockets, mortars, surface-to-air missiles and to conduct simulated air-to-ground offensive missions.

HTV-2 Falcon

The Falcon HTV-2 is an unmanned, rocket-launched aircraft that glides through the Earth’s atmosphere at Mach 20 (approximately 13,000 miles per hour). At this speed, the flight time between New York City and Los Angeles would be less than 12 minutes. The HTV-2 vehicle flight mission profile is to be a “data truck” that collects data “in uncertain circumstances.”

The latest test flight of the HTV-2 was launched in August of last year. The HTV-2 glider was to fly 4,800 miles (7,700 km) across the Pacific to Kwajalein Atoll. The launch was successful, but the mission was not completed as planned. Reports stated that contact had been lost with the vehicle 36 minutes into the mission. The test flight ended when the computer autopilot had “commanded flight termination.” It was later reported that the HTV-2 literally flew out of its skin.

The DiscRotor Program

An aircraft capable of travelling long distances at high speeds with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL)/hover capability will bridge the gap in helicopter escort and insertion missions by providing survivability, mobility, and responsiveness for troop and cargo insertion. DARPA thinks the DiscRotor should be capable of 460 mph (740 kph) at 30,000 feet, while retaining the hover and low-speed characteristics of a helicopter.

The DiscRotor will be capable of high-efficiency hover, high-speed flight, and seamless transition between flight states. The aircraft will be able to take off and land like a helicopter, but fly horizontally like a conventional jet. Transitioning from helicopter flight to fixed-wing flight is possible by retracting the blades within the disc.

The DiscRotor’s combination of high speed for ingress and egress and good high-altitude hover performance would fit a combat search-and-rescue role. The initial concept vehicle approximates the size of a UH-60 Black Hawk-size fuselage.

The SolarEagle

The Vulture Program’s unmanned SolarEagle aircraft is a platform designed to carry a payload and remain in the air for up to five years at a time. SolarEagle is being designed to perform intelligence, surveillance and communication missions.

The intent of the program is to act as a low-cost satellite that could also be used to monitor arms treaty compliance, national border activity, or battlefield surveillance. The aircraft would be solar-powered, with a 120-meter wing span. It is designed to operate at altitudes above 11 miles (18,000 meters). Boeing hopes it will make its first demonstration flight in 2014.


Closer to earth are new weapons which will help ground forces stay in contact using a small, secure, ad-hoc communication system. iRobot, the company mostly known for making the Roomba® vacuum cleaner, has been awarded a grant to develop a LANdroids (Local Area Network droids) system.

The aim was to develop a communication system by creating pocket-sized robots that soldiers could scatter as they moved through an urban area. The robots would each act as a node in a wireless network. As the soldiers move, the robots would autonomously move with them, filling gaps in the network.

According to iRobot, the LANdroid it created weighed around one pound, was highly mobile, and was self-righting and obstacle climbing. iRobot has also developed a throwable robot for soldiers that will be available this year. It says the robot could be used to investigate hard-to-access places such as tunnels and ditches.

Smart Ammunition

In warfare, one of the first things infantry soldiers are taught is to seek cover once the shooting starts. Since the invention of projectile weapons (stones, arrows, bullets and artillery), a force that can shoot from behind cover such as rocks, the rim of a ditch or behind the wall of the building, can often save itself from death or injury. Modern technology may make this basic evasion strategy obsolete.

Smart ammunition may just be what Jeremiah was describing when he said, “Their arrows shall be as of a mighty expert man; None shall return in vain.”4 In the quaint King James, arrows that do not return in vain mean that they hit their target every time.

An American arms firm, ATK, and the German company, Heckler & Koch, have designed a weapon that negates the advantage of cover by borrowing an idea from another arms designer, Henry Shrapnel.

The XM25, as the new rifle is known, weighs about 6 kg (13 lb), fires a 25mm round and is accurate up to 500 meters (1,600 feet). This is over twice the range of the AK-47, the weapon of choice used by NATO’s adversaries. What makes this weapon unique is that it does not have to be aimed directly at the target. The round only needs to be aimed close to it. Once at its target, the round explodes, just like Shrapnel’s original artillery shells.

Inside the XM25 bullet is a small computer that monitors the projectile’s flight and explodes the round once it reaches its objective. Someone hiding around a corner or behind a wall will now be vulnerable to enemy fire.

The United States is now testing XM25 in Afghanistan. To date, they have been used on more than 200 occasions. The program has been so successful that the army has ordered 36 more of the new weapons.

In coming years, soldiers who duck for cover—one of the oldest ploys in combat—will no longer be offered the sanctuary it has given in centuries past.

Is There a Limit?

Even with the sophisticated technology we possess with modern weapons, the limits of human knowledge and power are manifested by the fact that these very same technologies tend to worsen our problems rather than solve them. This is complicated by the fact that man tends to use these advances for evil ends.

The biggest limit we face is man’s inability to control himself. Despite the Humanist’s mantra of things getting better in modern times, civilization keeps moving toward ever more violent societies, toward more terrible weapons of mass destruction and ways to crush the human spirit. Even with all the power he has harnessed, man is powerless to control the forces of evil that besiege him.

Man has not only developed the power to destroy mankind, but he has done so at a frightful cost. “Modern weapons can vaporize much of the human environment, and seem likely to vaporize all of our money even if they are not used.”5

Until the Prince of Peace returns, there will never and can never be universal peace. Man may dream of it all he wishes, but the Bible is very clear. Every effort to bring peace without Him, be it by weaponry or diplomacy, can never succeed, because all the efforts of men are hollow until they acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord.



  • Ehrenfeld, D. (1978).
  • The Arrogance of Humanism. New York: Oxford University.
  • Gonen, R. (1980). “Weapons and Warfare in Ancient Times.” In R. Gonen, Lerner Archaeology Series: Digging up the Past. Lerner Publishing Group.
  • Missler, C. (2010, March 01). The Magog Invasion, An Alternative View. Retrieved from


  1. For more on cybersecurity, see “The Future of Warfare” in the July 2012 issue of Personal Update.
  2. Scythian, an inhabitant of Scythia or modern day Russia. (See Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon #4658)
  3. Ezekiel 38:4, KJV.
  4. Jeremiah 50:9, KJV.
  5. Ehrenfield, p. 237.