Matt Sanchez writes, Future Weapons Development Could Help Stimulate Ailing Economy
Weapons development funds weren’t a part of the $787 billion stimulus package the president signed this week, but some say boosting defense spending and innovation could create jobs and help the ailing economy bounce back. And kick butt while at it, too:
Defense officials planned the modernization of the military during the money-flush years of the Bush administration. Among the projects that they say would boost the nation’s defense capabilities — and conceivably stimulate the economy through the jobs created to build them — are:
— The Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV), an all-terrain, multi-purpose robot platform that is already used by Explosives Ordinance Disposal units to handle IEDs. The Army has bigger plans for the durable little robots — if more can be built.
— Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs), remote-controlled “robo-bugs” that the Air Force says could be deployed for a variety of purposes, including close reconnaissance. These small, sophisticated devices — as little as six inches long — can achieve a variety of disguises through “collapsible wings” and “sliding skins.”
— More air drones, which work around the clock and can sense human targets through voice and face-recognition. They can quickly send back real-time footage and aggressively attack their targets.
— Quick Kill, an active protective system designed to destroy enemy weapons and literally deflect incoming projectiles, like a rocket propelled grenade. This high-tech “hit avoidance” shield may crack under budgetary constraints, a concern for Raytheon, the 72,000-employee aerospace and defense company in Waltham, Mass., that produces it.