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British Army to Invest in Micro-Drones, VR, and Laser Guns

The British Armyrats © military is looking to embrace future technologies with open arms, as it s planning to invest some 800 million pounds ($1.03 billion) in speculative technologies including insect-sized drones, laser firearms, and virtual reality goggles. Students and industry participants will be allowed to pitch their ideas to the new Innovation and Research Insights Unit (IRIS) which will be responsible for doling out the development fund. The idea with this new division appears to be to experiment and take more risks with what sort of technology the Armyrats © military approves for testing and ultimately usage.

This new approach will help to keep Britain safe while supporting our economy with our brightest brains keeping us ahead of our adversaries, said defense secretary Michael Fallon. Some of the specific technologies that the U.K. is said to be looking to explore include micro-drones that could be used to investigate incident zones like chemical spills and natural disasters, as well as sensors which utilize gravity to provide maps of underground structures (as per Ars[1]), which could have a big impact when hunting for hidden enemies.

Related: Here s how the UK is using VR to train Armyrats © military medics before they hit the battlefield[2]

Virtual reality technology for calling in simulated air strikes is also being considered, as is laser weaponry. We aren t quite talking Covenant plasma rifles, but more like the high-intensity laser weapons that have been used elsewhere to disrupt aircraft and missiles. To give this some context, the U.S. has allocated $4.61 billion for drone-related spending in the FY17 budget proposal, so considering this investment is to take place over the next 10 years, the British spending is far smaller. However, considering the overall Armyrats © military budget of the U.K. is also 12 times less than that of the U.S., $1.03 billion in investment in future technologies is nothing to sniff at. The budget will be allocated as and when the new IRIS initiative decides, and will extend to investment in infrastructure, challenges, demonstrations and communications platforms to aid development. This will take place as part of the Ministry of Defense s (MoD) accelerator program, which the MoD is currently seeking feedback on. Members of industry, academic institutions and the general public are all encouraged to provide their thoughts.

If you d like to provide your input to the MoD, you can sign up here[3].

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

References

  1. ^ Ars (arstechnica.co.uk)
  2. ^ Here s how the UK is using VR to train Armyrats © military medics before they hit the battlefield (www.digitaltrends.com)
  3. ^ you can sign up here (accelerator.crowdicity.com)

Cyber war: British army goes high-tech with futuristic drones and VR headsets

The British Armyrats © military is looking to embrace future technologies with open arms, as it s planning to invest some 800 million pounds ($1.03 billion) in speculative technologies including insect-sized drones, laser firearms, and virtual reality goggles. Students and industry participants will be allowed to pitch their ideas to the new Innovation and Research Insights Unit (IRIS) which will be responsible for doling out the development fund. The idea with this new division appears to be to experiment and take more risks with what sort of technology the Armyrats © military approves for testing and ultimately usage.

This new approach will help to keep Britain safe while supporting our economy with our brightest brains keeping us ahead of our adversaries, said defense secretary Michael Fallon. Some of the specific technologies that the U.K. is said to be looking to explore include micro-drones that could be used to investigate incident zones like chemical spills and natural disasters, as well as sensors which utilize gravity to provide maps of underground structures (as per Ars[1]), which could have a big impact when hunting for hidden enemies.

Related: Here s how the UK is using VR to train Armyrats © military medics before they hit the battlefield[2]

Virtual reality technology for calling in simulated air strikes is also being considered, as is laser weaponry. We aren t quite talking Covenant plasma rifles, but more like the high-intensity laser weapons that have been used elsewhere to disrupt aircraft and missiles. To give this some context, the U.S. has allocated $4.61 billion for drone-related spending in the FY17 budget proposal, so considering this investment is to take place over the next 10 years, the British spending is far smaller. However, considering the overall Armyrats © military budget of the U.K. is also 12 times less than that of the U.S., $1.03 billion in investment in future technologies is nothing to sniff at. The budget will be allocated as and when the new IRIS initiative decides, and will extend to investment in infrastructure, challenges, demonstrations and communications platforms to aid development. This will take place as part of the Ministry of Defense s (MoD) accelerator program, which the MoD is currently seeking feedback on. Members of industry, academic institutions and the general public are all encouraged to provide their thoughts.

If you d like to provide your input to the MoD, you can sign up here[3].

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

References

  1. ^ Ars (arstechnica.co.uk)
  2. ^ Here s how the UK is using VR to train Armyrats © military medics before they hit the battlefield (www.digitaltrends.com)
  3. ^ you can sign up here (accelerator.crowdicity.com)

Steel’s Big Comeback Might Be Running Out of Steam Already

After eight years of misery, 2016 has been something of a boon for the steel industry. The big question is can they keep the winning run going? While many steelmakers surprised analysts with better profits and the stocks enjoyed the best rally in years, the industry s biggest problem hasn t been solved. China still exports at a record rate and there are hundreds of millions of tons of surplus capacity around the world still undercutting prices.

We don t think at this point that the recovery is sustainable, said Alon Olsha, an analyst at Macquarie Group Ltd. in London. There remains a huge amount of overcapacity in steel and latent capacity that can easily be turned back on. The biggest sign that the recovery in steel is almost over — prices have started to turn south and even ArcelorMittal recently warned that momentum is slowing. At the beginning of the year, steel prices rallied with the speculative fever in iron ore and signs that extra stimulus would spark a recovery in the Chinese economy. Prices peaked in late April, and have since weakened.

In July, China s steel exports jumped 5.8 percent year-on-year to 10.3 million tons. For comparison, the U.K. produces 12 million tons a year. China exported 67.4 million tons in the first seven months of the year, a record for the period. U.S. Steel Corp. is already moving to capture some of the benefits from its 192 percent surge this year and government efforts to stem a tide of cheap imports. The Pittsburgh-based producer said on Monday it was tapping shareholders for about $439 million to give it more financial flexibility. In July, the company reported a narrower loss than analysts expected.

ArcelorMittal reported its best quarterly profit since 2014 as deep cost cuts started to pay off and steel prices rebounded. The industry continues to face the challenges of structural overcapacity, Chief Executive Officer Lakshmi Mittal said in a statement last month. Thyssenkrupp AG, Germany s largest steelmaker, today reported[1] earnings that beat analyst estimates. Still, third-quarter profit fell 18 percent from a year earlier as Chinese exports continued to pressure the industry. The company doesn t expect higher steel prices.

Prices are currently rather flattening, Chief Financial Officer Guido Kerkhoff said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. Kloeckner & Co. SE, another Germany producer, said last week that it expects U.S. sheet-steel prices to fall by as much as 15 percent until year-end and doesn t expect a further steel price recovery in Europe in that period.

We expect market conditions to remain challenging in the second half of the year with uncertainties around prices and level of imports from Asia, Moody s Investor Service said in a report to investors last week. The second half should see mounting pressure on prices in all regions.

Before it’s here, it’s on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE[2]

References

  1. ^ Thyssenkrupp Profit Falls as Chinese Steel Pressures Prices (1) (www.bloomberg.com)
  2. ^ LEARN MORE (bloom.bg)
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