Emerging Technologies and Conventional Defence

  • Paul F. Walker


As the tank column advanced closer to the battlefield, it noticed itself under observation from small, strange-looking drone-type aircraft buzzing overhead. No sooner had the tank gunners drawn a bead on the mini-aircraft, difficult to follow due to their quick, low, and erratic flight, than the tanks came under sudden attack from swarms of what appeared to be molten slugs of metal falling out of the clouds. This forced the gunners to drop their machine-guns, dive into their armoured turrets, and batten down hatches while trying to call in air cover to knock out the drones. The tank drivers, in the meantime, sought cover in defilade and regrouped for further advance, the column now reduced to two-thirds its original number. Scouts sent out to examine the lost tanks reported that they had been destroyed by armour-piercing warheads entering vertically through turrets and engine covers; crews in the tanks struck through the turret had died instantly by shrapnel richocheting round the tank insides.


Steering Vane Defense Advance Research Project Agency Shaped Charge Defense Advance Research Project Agency Armoured Vehicle 
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  1. 1.
    For an interesting historical glimpse at military technology, see Williams H. McNeill, The Pursuit of Power (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    US Atomic Energy Commission, The United States Strategic Bombing Survey: The Effects of Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1946) p. 33.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    For additional historical background, see Paul F. Walker, ‘Precision-guided Weapons’, Scientific American (August 1981) pp. 36–45.Google Scholar
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    Major-General Chaim Herzog, The War of Atonement, October, 1973 (Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown, 1975) p. 221.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    See Richard Halloran, ‘Navy, Stung By Criticism, Defends Costly Bombing Raids in Lebanon’, New York Times, 7 December 1983Google Scholar
  6. and Fred Kaplan, ‘Questions Remain about U.S. Air Raid’, Boston Globe, 18 December 1983.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    See Paul F. Walker and James C. Mihori, ‘Smart Weapons and Warfare: Facing Up to Hi-Tech Vulnerability’, Environment, (July/ August, 1984) pp. 15–20 and 38–40.Google Scholar
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  11. and Jeffrey Ethell and Alfred Price, Air War: South Atlantic (New York: Macmillian Publishing Company, 1983).Google Scholar
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    US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Fiscal Year 1986 Research and Development Program: Annual Statement (Washington DC: US Department of Defense, 1985) p. 4.Google Scholar
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    See James A. Tegnelia, Assistant Undersecretary of Defense Research and Engineering for Conventional Initiatives, ‘New Trends in Military Technology’, Conference on Soviet Military Strategy and Western Responses (October 1984).Google Scholar
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    See US Department of Defense, Annual Report to the Congress Fiscal Year 1986 (Washington, DC, 1985) pp. 188–9.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Frank Barnaby and Marlies ter Borg 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul F. Walker

There are no affiliations available

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