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December 2nd, 2007
Military lab thinks large, small to develop munitions of future
Today, the focus is "nano" and "bio," among other "os," says John H. Pletcher, associate director for weapons.
None of the categories are mutually exclusive. Someday, the directorate might demonstrate a nano-energetic, robo-plane based on a hummingbird's physiology that flies itself into the head of a terrorist drinking thick coffee on a balcony in Beirut, Lebanon, and then explodes.
"Nano" refers to scale. It's one-billionth of a unit. A nanometer. A nanoliter. A nanogram.
Nano-energetics relies on microscopic particles to achieve hyperefficient explosions.
The prospect of tiny granules going boom with much greater energy than now available makes it more likely that smart munitions even smaller than the Air Force's current lightweight bomb, the 250-pound-class GBU-39, will be developed.
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