3 Military Technologies Benefiting People Every Day

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3 Military Technologies Benefiting People Every Day

Technology transferring from military to civilian use is nothing new. Discover how the convergence of these two worlds is benefiting everyday people.
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Friday, June 16, 2017 - 9:25am

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Duct tape was invented to protect ammunition cases from water during World War II. The internet grew out of a military research project. Navigation devices, such as Google Maps, rely on satellites created to guide fighter jets, warships and military forces.

Technology transferring from military to civilian use is nothing new. Even the Roman Empire road system was developed to reduce soldier travel time, but all Romans used it to swiftly move information and goods across the Empire.

The convergence of these two worlds not only benefits everyday people, but makes it possible to reduce the cost of systems that only government organizations with hefty budgets could afford in the past.

Continue reading to discover how military technology is finding ways into our civilian lives.

1. GPS

Have you ever given thought to the technology that gets you from A to B? Type an address into your phone, and up pop step-by-step directions.

Known by its initials “GPS,” the U.S. Air Force’s Global Positioning System has provided reliable positioning and navigation information to the U.S. military since the 1970s. The space-based satellite system that we know for helping us navigate the streets only became available for civilian use in 1994.

Beyond moving from point A to B, GPS technology sets and synchronizes time around the world, determining the current time within 100 billionths of a second. Financial companies worldwide use GPS to time-stamp transactions, providing you with a consistent way to maintain ATM records and ensure traceability.

In the future, the next generation GPS satellite, known as GPS III, will share a new civil signal with other Global Navigation Satellite Systems, like Europe’s Galileo system. With more satellites broadcasting this new shared signal, users will be better able to connect and know their exact location, whether they’re exploring a tropical rain forest or sightseeing in a major city.

2. AUTONOMOUS SYSTEMS

Unmanned aerial systems, or UASs, have been largely associated in the public mind with military uses. However, increased use by hobbyists, law enforcement, farmers and first responders is drastically shifting this perception.

Aerial firefighting has been used for decades but now we are starting to see how teams of UASs and manned aircraft can work together to combat wildfires.

UASs, such as Indago and Stalker, can collaborate with autonomous helicopters, like the K-MAX, to battle fires. By acting as scouts, Indago and Stalker detect flames with their electro-optic/ infrared imagers and can guide K-MAX to drop fire suppressant on a blaze. 

These systems can work to fight fires day and night, and in smoky conditions, reaching dangerous areas when other systems may be grounded and without risking lives.

In 2015, Indago was put to the test during firefighting activities in Western Australia, disaster assessments following Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu, and coastal erosion surveying in Australia.

Check out the video to see autonomy in action.

3. CARGO AIRPLANES

In 1954, a military cargo airplane rolled-out of a factory in Georgia. Originally intended to haul troops and deliver cargo, this aircraft—known as the C-130 Hercules—truly defied expectations, setting new standards for tactical airlift that remain unmatched to this day.

Ten years later, a commercial Hercules model known as the L-100 debuted and it has supported missions such as humanitarian aid, VIP transport and even carrying Keiko the killer whale to a rehabilitation facility.

While more than 50 of those 110 commercial freighters are still in active service today, Lockheed Martin is delivering the next generation of commercial cargo transport with the LM-100J. This new Super Hercules will take to the skies in 2017 and like its military counterpart, the LM-100J has the capability to support a number of different—and unique— asks.

Need to airdrop life-saving supplies to one of the poles? Transport a rhino? Or land on the highest airstrip in the Himalayan Mountains? The LM-100J has you covered.

The LM-100J offers worldwide access to pretty much anywhere, making it ideal for supporting medevac, disaster support, oil dispersion clean-up and fire-fighting efforts. 

Like the L-100s before it, the first LM-100J is in production on that same production line in Georgia. First flight is scheduled for early 2017. 

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Keywords: Innovation & Technology | AUTONOMOUS SYSTEMS | Duct Tape | Engineering | GPS | Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure | Lockheed Martin | Robotics | Security | Smart Technologies | Social Innovation

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