25. January 2005 · Comments Off on Nanotech Weapons · Categories: Military, Technology

Nanotechnology is on the verge of changing the face of warfare:

Carpenter says the U.S. military has developed “cave-buster” bombs using nanoaluminum, and it is also working on missiles and torpedoes that move so quickly that they strike their targets before evasive actions can be taken.

“Nanoaluminum provides ultra high burn rates for propellants that are ten times higher than existing propellants,” says Carpenter.

The military is also trying to make sure that its bullets kill quickly.

The U.S. Army Environmental Center began a program in 1997 to develop alternatives to the toxic lead that is used in the hundreds of millions of rounds that are annually fired during conflicts and at its training ranges. Carpenter says that although bullets using nanoaluminum are ready to be field tested, the government has been slow implement the technology.


Nanotechnology “could completely change the face of weaponry,” according to Andy Oppenheimer, a weapons expert with analyst firm and publisher Jane’s Information Group. Oppenheimer says nations including the United States, Germany, and Russia are developing “mini-nuke” devices that use nanotechnology to create much smaller nuclear detonators.

Oppenheimer says the devices could fit inside a briefcase and would be powerful enough to destroy a building. Although the devices require nuclear materials, because of their small size “they blur the line with conventional weapons,” Oppenheimer says.

It would seem this same technology could be used to create synthetic superfuels for civilian transportation and other energy uses.

Hat Tip: Instapundit

Update: There seems seems to be some confusion about what I meant by “this same technology.” What I was talking about was plasma vapor phase reactions, which seems to be the basis for all contemporary nanochemistry. I only have a cursory practical knowledge of this, from working on chrome deposition chambers back in the late ’70s – early ’80s. But I understand the potential.

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