The world of weaponry is a fascinating place. From the times of beating each other over the heads with rocks to modern-day drone strikes that fire missiles armed with swords (that technically don’t exist), we’ve come a long way. There are weapons that can fit in the palm of your hand and others that can take out an entire city. Today, we’re looking at the 30 coolest military weapons you’ve probably never heard of.
Read next: What Is a Tactical Pen & Should You Get One?
Where Does the U.S. Military Get Its Weapons?
The United States works with many reputable companies to deliver its never-ending trove of military weapons. These weapons can range from the mundane to the classified and everything in between. When it was reported that the Pentagon asked the top 8 U.S. weapons makers to meet on Ukraine, here are some of the top names they reportedly turned to:
- General Dynamics
- L3Harris Technologies
- Lockheed Martin
- Northrop Grumman
- Raytheon Technologies
Lockheed, Raytheon, yep, the usual suspects are here. Now, let’s get into some of the weaponry in the military cool enough to pique the interest of Tony Stark.
30 [email protected]$$ U.S. Military Weapons
Just as a disclaimer, some of these maybe aren’t in use yet, or in use by the U.S. forces… that we know of. But imitation is the highest form of flattery, and you can bet that whether or not we will ever know the truth, the U.S. has been experimenting with [email protected]$$ military weaponry since we launched a submarine right after kicking the tea off the Boston Harbor. Here are some of the highlights.
1. Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS)
We told you Tony would be interested. TALOSs are nicknamed the “Iron Man Suit” because they are robotic exoskeletons for troops on the battlefield. The idea is that the exoskeleton will allow troops to absorb bullets, negate fire, and bypass darkness. It also provides them with critical readings of their vitals.
Capable of firing objects at Mach 8 (5,000 mph), railguns were initially developed to help protect warships. This was to be used to fire at enemies, defend against missiles, shoot down aircraft, and more, including on the offensive to hit battlefields. Sadly, after a decade and tons of money, the railgun was scrapped in 2021.
3. Rods from God
Tungsten is one of the heaviest metals known to man. Gravity makes things fall. This weapon’s idea was to take a telephone pole-sized piece of tungsten and drop it from space to hit its target. At least, that’s the idea. But the logistics of creating this weapon, reloading it, and then somehow making sure it hits the target instead of murking some innocents are all major hurdles that will likely keep this weapon in the whelm of concepts and sci-fi rather than reality.
Also known as the personnel halting and stimulation response rifle, PHASR temporarily blinds people when it’s shot at their eyes. It’s like laser tag on steroids. However, thanks to the Geneva Conventions and United Nations back in 1995 making blinding people illegal in war, this weapon will have to remain a fascinating idea rather than a useful advantage.
5. Pulsed Energy Projectiles
Imagine firing a laser at someone and creating a pocket of exploding plasma all around them. Not to kill them, but to create enough pressure that it would knock them out. That’s exactly what the U.S. did and continues to develop here. Oh, and watch out for those painful nerve agitations.
Available as either a semi-automatic pistol or a grenade launcher, the CornerShot weapons allow you to hit your target regardless of corners. Military and law enforcement agencies in 15 countries are using these weapons, as they’ve proven to be quite effective.
7. Quantum Stealth
Seeing is believing, as the old adage goes. This is why Quantum Stealth is so important. Its technology takes camouflage a step further by bending light around objects, making people, objects, or even vehicles virtually invisible. It’s blending in as you’ve never seen before – literally!
8. AA-12 Shotgun
Ok, anyone who’s spent enough time playing Call of Duty will know this one, as at one point or another, you’ve been annoyed by someone spamming an AA-12, but this shotgun can be a devastating force in real life. Used only by American Forces, the AA-12 is an assault shotgun firing five 12-gauge shells per second, featuring minimum recoil. A close-arms battle nightmare for enemies.
9. The Taser Shockwave
One TASER not enough? How about an entire wall of them? That you can mount to a vehicle? Yeah, insane, but real. This weapon is a non-lethal solution to taking down literal crowds of people in one overarching blow.
10. Bat Bombs
Developing military weapons is difficult. There’s a lot of trial and error that goes into it, and nothing semi-reasonable is off of the table. This is why the USMC decided it wanted to train bats to be kamikazes to deliver bombs to our enemies. The idea was eventually pulled – not because of animal activists, but rather because they found a better way to make things explode. Something called an atomic bomb? Idk.
11. XM25 Individual Airburst Weapon System (IAWS)
We’ve all heard of or seen grenade launchers, but they’ve been nothing quite like this. The IAWS is a weapon capable of not only launching grenades but doing so with precision and deadly force. Troops can program grenades through a rangefinder to hit in and behind bunkers, drastically reducing the amount of combat necessary.
12. Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System (MAARS)
Robots flying around during combat? Yeah, we’ve seen it many times. But the MAARS is a robot built to take on infantry from the ground. This incredible feat of engineering provides an operational range of up to 1,000 meters away and can be customized with any number of weapons, multiple cameras, a turret with 360° shooting capabilities, and much more.
13. The Avenger
Despite what you might think, this is not yet another Marvel reference in this article. Armed with a laser, these weapons/vehicles can take out IEDs before they get a chance to harm American troops.
Remember when I said that the U.S. was willing to try anything? The same goes for the rest of the world. The Cold War seems like a strange time to have been alive. It gets stranger, and not just because Great Britain wanted to bury a nuclear warhead in Germany to be detonated if Soviet forces came from the East. Nope, they wanted to rely on housing chickens above the warhead to keep the ground warm enough for the [email protected] thing to work. Thankfully, this ridiculous idea was abandoned.
15. Robot Dogs
When the brilliant minds of Boston Dynamics came out with their robot dog Spot, many were skeptical. There was a lot to work out, but work they did, banging out the kinks and creating a robot capable of going where it may otherwise be unsafe for humans. Sadly, the project was scrapped from U.S. military use over stealth concerns, but other governments are still interested, and the technology is still in place for simple surveillance.
Another robot from the geniuses out of Boston Dynamics is Atlas. While not a weapon (yet), there are many eyes on the technology. It’s come a long way and can perform complex athletic maneuvers. Will it one day replace boots on the ground? As soon as we arm it with some American military assault rifles, anything is possible.
17. The Active Denial System (ADS)
Part military weapon, part concern for the right to assemble, the Active Denial System is a non-lethal method of dispersing crowds. By using a heat ray to warm up the water molecules on your skin to a toasty 130°F, the ADS can work up to 500 yards away. What a horrific idea.
The U.S. Air Force has developed a program known as Skyborg. This program uses unmanned aircraft controlled by AI software to operate. As part of the United States Air Force Vanguard program, Skyborg will work alongside manned aircraft to complete missions.
19. Additional AI Vehicles
Skyborg is one thing, but vehicles for both land and sea that are controlled by AI are also in the works. This will become more and more prevalent as 5G spreads. Not because of some crazy Facebook conspiracy meme but because 5G will help autonomous vehicles work together in harmony and support AI and machine learning (ML). It’s like nobody ever watched i-Robot. SMH.
20. Hypersonic Missiles
What’s a better idea than hitting something with a missile that goes extremely fast? Hitting a target with a missile that goes even faster. Hypersonic missiles have had a resurgence in interest from the U.S. military since it scrapped railguns and realized how far China had come along with the technology.
21. Cluster Bombs That Mess With Your Mind
During MK Ultra, the CIA created the BZ bomb, which was a cluster bomb filled with 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate. This hallucinogen is known to give people headaches, make focusing difficult, and induce restlessness. What’s wrong with this organization? The sadistic project was canned after they realized it was immoral. Just kidding, the drug just wasn’t reliable enough.
22. Laser Weapon System (LaWS)
The LaWS is a military weapon that uses a laser to destroy things. It’s basically a big laser cannon that goes on ships, and it can take down an encampment or an enemy vehicle, ship, or aircraft.
23. Black Knight ARCV
The Black Knight is similar to a MAARS robot because it can be deployed in places that may be unsafe for humans to enter. Think basically an unarmed tank that can withstand heavy fire and get the job done.
24. Microsoft HoloLens
Less full-on weapon and more on the equipment side of things, don’t sleep on the Microsoft HoloLens. This mixed reality (MR) device can help troops gain information on the battlefield. The goal is to provide the device with the ability to help the U.S. military better equip troops with information and see what the enemy may not or may not expect using technology and data.
25. ADAPTIV Invisibility Cloaks
There are many incredible weapons that only America has. The ADAPTIV Invisibility Cloak is one of them. Similar to Quantum Stealth, this collection from BAE Systems elevates camouflage and can be used on large vehicles and aircraft to disguise and manipulate.
26. Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance
Remember the movie Wanted? Bullets flying around and curving with manipulation from elite shooters… or something? Sorry, it’s been a while, but with the Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance, bullets have the ability to change their course midflight for better accuracy.
27. Armatix Digital Revolver
Thought of as a “smart gun,” the Armatix Digital Revolver requires the user to be in possession of a separate wristwatch that can only be activated by the user’s fingerprint in order to operate. Since only the owner can use the weapon, many are looking at it not only as a military weapon but as a solution for increased gun safety.
28. The Vomit Gun
The U.S. Navy worked with a private company, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Department also worked with a private company on the idea on their own. All signs point to the powers that be developing perhaps one of the only military weapons that make you puke. It was successful, though its use, if any, is a bit of a mystery, but it provides yet another non-lethal option to a growing number of questionable weaponry.
29. Fostech Origin 12 Shotgun
There are two things you need to know about the Fostech Origin 12 Shotgun. First, it’s not an automatic shotgun. Second, despite that fact, it’s still able to fire 30 rounds in less than eight seconds. You can even put a suppressor on it. Insane!
30. High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD)
The hardworking minds of Boeing are developing the HEL MD, which is actually a military weapon used to prevent other military weapons from striking. The goal is to create a system that will stop the incoming fire from artillery, mortars, or rockets.