Enoch’s note — this post has been rewritten and is now better and more accurate (effing grams and grains…).
I want to talk about guns and warfare. Mostly because I had a dream about it last night.
I want to talk about the fact that in a few years traditional gunpowder-based weapons will be obsolete. Relics. Museum pieces. Winsome reminders of another era.
Such weapons will follow this pathway of obsolescence not because the State takes them away or somehow obstructs or controls the manufacturing of weapons or ammunition, but because other – far more advanced and deadlier – weapons will take their place.
Look at it this way – gunpowder has been known to humankind for over a thousand years. That’s 1,000 years. Not too many things have that kind of longevity these days.
It’s like the lint filter on your clothes dryer. It’s due to be replaced.
There are plenty of candidates for that replacement. We’ll look at a few.
Gunpowder is really not all that efficient as a mechanism for transferring energy from a chemical explosion through to a solid object (i.e., the lead bullet). There are new gel formulations which – in much smaller amounts than gunpowder – produce an even greater energy, propelling a traditional bullet with greater force and power.
In addition, gunpowder is not the only way to produce the energy necessary to hurl a projectile through the air. Electromagnetic repulsion – allowed to compound in layers and then be released – can generate substantive power. New weapons will be designed that have the energy source built directly into the weapon itself.
Think of a car. It carries its own energy (gasoline) that is routed through to a mixing chamber and combusted. The resulting mini-explosions release energy that drive pistons to transfer that energy to the drive train and wheels.
A weapon that had its own combustion chamber for controlled explosions would be remarkable because of the savings in space – a bullet is mostly the shell casing (with gunpowder and primer) with a small lead slug. If you eliminate the casing, you can now have a veritable boatload of slugs in the weapon or magazine.
Not only that – but we are assuming you must introduce an external object (the bullet) into the weapon to be fired. What if the weapon were capable of producing its own mass – there are many chemical reactions were a solid is produced. A weapon like that would require only very limited reloading (just the source chemicals for the reaction) and if you chose common ingredients it might be as simple as loading everyday elements.
You can also make weapons smarter. No one likes friendly fire. So – imagine a device each soldier wears that sends out an electromagnetic signal that fired projectiles can scan and react to by either self-destructing or modifying its direction (slug has embedded microchip).
Better still – suppose your enemy has some readily identifiable variable (e.g., genetic feature, physical characteristic, brainwave pattern) that you can encode into the projectile. It will only deliver itself to those types of targets and ignore others.
Another factor in the use of weapons is how fast the projectile travels. Speed kills.
A traditional combat rifle like the M16 produces an approximate 4 grain (~.15771 ounce) bullet traveling at about 2800 feet per second. Now consider the lowly BB – usually with a weight of around .2 to .5 grains (that’s point two to point five grains) – and is fired at around 500+ feet per second. What happens, however, if you able to escalate the velocity to – say – 5,000 feet per second and still use (in large arrays) the BB?
Imagine a shot gun blast that might be delivered from 3 to 5 feet pushed down range to 500 yards or more. Perforation and disaster on the receiving end.
Not only that, but a round object like the BB need not be solid. It can be hollow and filled with something. You know – explosive gel, gas, or an electrostatic charge. Ever been accidently shocked in your home? Worse yet, zapped by a taser? If that sort of electroshock power could be encapsulated in a sealed projectile that delivers the charge on impact – ouch! Especially if there are no wires and the range is the same as a standard weapon…
We live in a world awash in electromagnetic (EM) waves. Hell, we humans are nothing but a collection of EM waves. Most of time humans manipulate the EM waves in a useful manner – the Internet, your mobile phone, movies, music, medical scanning devices, et cetera, ad nauseum.
However – you can use EM waves in rather horrible waves. It will not be long before you see neuro-synaptic disruptor weapons. Look at it this way – your brain is simply an electro-chemical circuit. Add too much juice to the circuit and you either fry it or force the breakers to engage and temporarily disable the system.
Either way, not good for you.
The disruptor weapon simply has to supply enough directed EM wave energy that the brain cannot cope with it. This could be done via radio (sound), micro, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, x-rays, gamma rays or a fusion mix of two or more. If you can add in projectiles of matter – even particles of very small mass – you can create chaos on the receiving end.
The weapon discussed above delivers its energy in a directed beam, but you would also develop weapons capable of delivering controlled bursts or pulses which contain magnified energy packets or quanta. This is basically the Tesla idea of the wireless transmission of energy. Think direct induction, magnetic resonation, and electromagnetic shielding. A nasty weapon.
You can also expect sonic weapons that use sound to disrupt brain function, microwave weapons that fry you from the inside out, amplified light weapons that burn and sizzle you on the outside like a nuclear torch, and gamma ray or other type of wave weapons that disrupt normal cellular function.
Speaking of cellular function, this brings me to the notion of short-term versus long-term weapons.
When you fire a gun, the expected result occurs within seconds. Even with a missile, the results are usually expected in minutes.
Future warfare – however – will require a different mindset because massed armies like those we saw in World Wars One and Two will never happen again.
That’s because of limited tactical nukes for one thing – if your enemy puts 100,000 men in one area and you drop a tactical nuke, then the enemy is left with 100,000 smoking human husks. Not a good logistical plan.
Toss in GPS- or laser-guided missiles and drones – well, massed troops or vehicles is a really bad idea.
There are three new ways will be waged in the future.
First off, it will be handled largely by machines – drones in the air and on the ground – operated by humans safely ensconced in bunkers many, many, miles away. Battles will largely be over resource sites, access channels, transportation conduits, and communication centers. Such battles will mostly be small fights with low numbers of participants and limited goals.
The second way of waging war will be with a select — elite and intelligent — group of fighting people. A special force. Special forces. Small, mobile, undetectable. With modern communications and weaponry, a handful of humans can do a terrible amount of damage. Special forces operations will rise dramatically in conjunction and alignment with drones and robotic devices. These small groups of humans will play significant roles in the outcome of future battles — and wars.
However, both of these first two ways of waging war are short-term solutions to persistent and chronic problems. Not much will be accomplished in the long-term.
So – you endorse a longer killing frame than mere second or minutes.
You think genetic. This is the third way war will be waged in the future.
A genetic weapon would have a time-frame for actualization that might be anywhere from six months to several years. Just think how fast some cancers spread through the human body. The genetic weapon could be designed to impact the recipient themselves (by introducing a cancer or disease) – or more subtle by only attacking the recipient’s reproductive system. If you introduce genetic problems into the XY chromosomes, then the result is that next generation of the enemy is disabled, sterile, diseased, or otherwise incapable of confronting you as a cohesive enemy.
If you do not have the funding necessary to introduce true genetic weapons like those discussed above, you have to think of another – simpler and less expensive — way of delivering genetic material into the midst of your enemy.
How about wave after wave of illegal immigration?
Your “troops” are not soldiers in uniform loaded down with fighting gear. They are simply nondescript men and women of breeding age whose sole duty is to replicate and consume the resources of your chosen enemy.
You overwhelm the system with your invading forces while increasing your numbers through unrestrained reproduction. In a few years – if the system you happen to be invading is a voting democracy, you can actually seize “legitimate” power.
This is genetic siege warfare of the most subtle — and effective — variety.
Eyes front, soldier and fronti nulla fides (it’s Latin).
Thanks to Grif for the grams to grains mend — fug.