There have been debates across the world regarding the advanced weaponry some of which are in existence already while others are still being experimented. However, one thing which is true is that the time is right; the world especially the US has to rethink of advanced nuclear weapons which they will use to defend the nation. It is not good for people to sleep simply because Cold War had ended; with each passing day, there are new threats to the national security of the US which calls for and demands for use of advance weaponry (Spring and Gudgel 1). The advancement in technology has enabled the world especially Russia nations to create some very dangerous weapons which if used against the US can bring about totally damage. It may be clear that the role of the advanced weaponry is for national security but it is time that the world consider more of their roles and not forget the environmental impacts that they will ones used. This paper outlines some of the current advanced weaponry with their roles and also looks into the environmental effects that they will have on the world.
The main role of every nuclear weapon is to prevent potential adversaries from any form of attack on the nation, its allies or vital interests. Nations such as Russia has maintained large and tactical strategies for nuclear forces making them a great threat to the world especially if they decide to use their weapons to protect their interests. On the other hand, China has been modernizing its arsenal on nuclear weapons with the hope that it will be able to protect its nation in case of any war (National Research Council 158). Pakistan and India are also not left out in the dramatic creation of advance weaponry taking advantage of the modern technology to make the most dangerous weapons which will make the world fear them. It shows that the nuclear age is still here, and will not end soon especially with the development of the advanced weaponry.
Advanced weaponry can be defined as weapons that are developed to perform one or more purposes. Just like their name suggest, they are advanced in technique, in power, in destruction level and also in attack level. The US has been spending $554 billion every year for forces and has allocated $85 billion for the US military operations overseas (Palmer 1). When this amount is calculated, you find that currently, the nation is spending about 39 percent of the total military expenditure in the world. All these vast amount of money translates into the government’s wish to have advanced weaponry which is a common modern scenario. Currently, the emerging superpower nations such as China and Russia are shaping their arms for the future military race by taking advantage of the advanced technology. The following are some the advanced weapon systems that the US is testing and has spend billions of dollars to ensure that they are sufficient and ready for use any time soon.
- HEL MD
This is an advanced weapon made from a collaborative effort of the Boeing’s defense and the US Army. It is a Directed Energy Weapon (DEW) with the potential of emitting highly beams of energy in a focused manner. It means that it is more of a big laser cannon thus the name High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD). Some of the merits of this weapon is the fact that it has the potential to emanate about 10 kilowatts of energy laser from any moving vehicle (Mandal 1). The energy is enough to repeal and destroy all the incoming mortar shells and missiles that have been pointed to it. There are plans by the Boeing scientists to make this machine with the potential to fire up about 50 to 60 kilowatt of laser shots which can destroy all the UAVs and high-range missiles keeping the military safe from its opponents or enemies. The HEL MD can be operated using Xbox controller with a man driving the truck which HEL MD has been mounted (Mandal 1). There is supposed to be another military officer sitting down with a laptop to control the Xbox. This machine is connected in such a way that it can lock on all the targets before taking them all out.
- Laser Weapon System (LaWs)
This is a $40 million dollar prototype machine system which has the robust potential to punch holes in the enemy UAVs through the use of its energetic 30 kilo watts photon beam. This machine was generated mainly to help in collective power-train comprising of six solid-state lasers welding. The spaces are combined and pointed into a single focus creating a photon burst which is used to cripple the enemy UAVs. LaWs also have the potential to navigate systems and allocate any incoming ships making the US military prepared for combat (Mandal 1). This machine is already installed for use especially in the transportation of the USS Ponce which is currently conducting patrol duties in areas that are disputed such as Persian Gulf. The machine is also appreciated by the military for being cost effective with one laser shot estimated to cost only a dollar.
- Experimental EM Rail Gun
People are aware that rail gun is electromagnetic projector which has been powered using electricity. The EM Rail has a parallel conductive rail with an armature which is sliding. Each time electricity current is passed in the system, it causes the armature to accelerate through the electromagnet power making the projectile to discharge to the location that it was pointed. The gun is set in such a way that it avoids any explosion that had been oriented and setup initially. Initially, the rail gun had several challenges which BAE has managed to rectify by designing a new working prototype with impressive stifle velocity of 7.5 mph and a capacity to cover 200 kilo meters (Mandal 1). The machine is currently being funded by the Office of the Naval Research (ONR) with the hope that this weapon will be among the classes of supper destroyers.
- MQ9 Reaper Drone
This is an old weapon machine that has been operation for the last 10years. However, its reconnaissance and intelligence is what makes it to be marked among the advanced weapons. The Reaper Drone is currently the largest of US UAV arsenal comprising of wingspan of 84 feet and a capacity of 7, 000 pounds making it easy to takeoff (Mandal 1). On the other hand, its payload aptitude is 3,000 pounds with a 36 hours flight time. The drone has the potential to climb 52, 000 feet and the capability to read any license plate that is over two miles from its current location. It can carry over 500 pound bombs, air-to-air missiles and air-to –ground missiles of UAV fleet. This offers support to the US military especially in a case of ambush and attack by the enemy.
Why these advanced weaponries are important
These advanced weaponries are not just meant to protect the nation but also to assure the allies who are not confident about the US deterrence to be confident that they can attack back and retaliate in all ways. It is important for allies and US friends to be assured of the continued US potential and capability for them to continue trusting the nation. On the other hand, advanced weaponry are a way of staying ahead of the war or the curve amidst the technological advancement and new threats of war especially terrorism. It is away to dissuade and inform the world of their strength and position in regards to weaponry and preparation for war. In this way they assure the citizens that the US is still up at its game and has the power to comfortably compete in case of war outbreak. The other reason for advance weaponry is for deterrence purposes which is essential concept since the Cold War (Spring and Gudgel 1). The current circumstances in the world has increased proliferation meaning that every nation should be flexible in terms of weaponry to guarantee them credibility, stability and strength. Lastly, these advanced weaponries are important for defeat whereby they are being tailored in such a way that they can be controlled to attack as required especially a strategic environment.
Environmental repercussions of use of these weaponries
As the world is preparing itself for the unforeseen future, it is also important to look at the potential repercussions of the nuclear/advance weaponries usage on the environment. Apart from increase in human death toll, there is a possibility that the weapons will have devastating effects which may be lasting on the environment. This is the reason they are being tested in areas where less people reside such as the Pacific Gulf. It is therefore high time that people also prepare themselves for the massive effects that the weapons will have on them.
It is anticipated that these weapons will create a thick smoke layer on the planet that will have the potential to block the incoming sunlight. During these periods, the temperatures may become low-coldest for a long period until the effects of the weaponry have dissolved. However, as the temperatures get low, the agricultural sector will be affected meaning that the world could experience hunger for some period of time. This might affect some nations especially developing nations which do not have advance plans on how to handle crisis or even manage it. On the other hand, there is a possibility of that the weapon explosion will increase pollution of the environment especially air and water. This will increase chances of global warming taking place causing the environment more harm than good (Austin and Bruch 112). The weapons when used will generate large waste of soil, dust, and even metals which always ends up on the rivers, oceans and the soil. The world has spent billions of dollars to try to manage waste and save the planet from global warming through various programs. It means that all these efforts will be going to a waste if the superpower nations such as US, Russia and China decide to use their advance weaponry.
In conclusion, it is time that the world reexamines the potential benefits and harm that these advance weaponry will bring to the earth and also to humanity. No nation want to appear weak but if they are taking advantage of advanced technology to prepare weapons that would destroy the world, then what benefit will it bring to humanity? There is a possibility that great nations with better weaponry will win the war and acquire peace but it is also important to think of the future repercussions even as the US spend millions of dollars to plan and develop these weapons.
Austin, James and Bruch Carl. The Environmental Consequences of War: Legal, Economic, and Scientific Perspectives. Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Mandal, Dattatreya. “6 of the Most Advanced Weapon Systems Being Tested by US Military.” Hexapolis. Accessed 2015, Jan. 14.
National Research Council. Strategic Technologies for the Army of the Twenty-First Century. The National Academic Press, 2015.
Palmer, Brian. “War on the World.” Slate. Accessed 2012 Feb. 2.
Spring, Baker and Gudgel, Kathy. “The Role of Nuclear Weapons in the 21st Century.” Heritage. Accessed. 2005, April 13.