A drone footage of the Niger ambush that killed four U.S. and five Nigerian soldiers that surfaced recently shows the service personnel desperately trying to escape and fighting for their lives after friendly Nigerien forces mistook them for the enemy. The video shows the harrowing hours of troops holding off their enemy and waiting for rescue. It shows how the soldiers set up a defensive location on the edge of a marsh and wrote letters to their loved ones thinking they were going to die. Pentagon released the video with explanatory narration and it contains more than 10 minutes of drone footage, animation and file tape that was not made public last week when the military released a portion of the final report on the October attack, the Guardian reported. In a failed attempt to target a local ISIS leader, 46 U.S. and Nigerien troops were involved in the initial mission in the West African nation.
The US Army is working on a new mine detector that allows soldiers to see as well as analyze the size of an explosive hidden underground. The new device uses real-time spatial location tracking and a range of sensors to produce an image of the buried object, be it an active IED or some unexploded artillery shell. As seen in the video, the tech creates a colored map on a tablet as and when the surface is scanned by the device. The area highlighted in orange roughly represents the scale or the metallic object or a potential risk-zone, while other colors represent the safer areas. "You can immediately see the shape of the object and roughly its size," Christopher Marshall, a scientist in the Countermine Division of the Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate, said in a statement.
Science fiction has a funny habit of becoming science fact after enough time has passed. The wide-eyed wonder of children sitting cross-legged in front of the TV eventually becomes inspiration for incredible feats of engineering, or the means of our own destruction. The latest example of this phenomenon is a new, powered up exoskeleton the U.S. Army is testing, per Scout.
In 1905, an Ohio farmer survived a railroad accident that cost him both of his legs. Two years later, he founded the Ohio Willow Wood company, using the namesake timber to hand-carve prosthetic limbs. The company grew, surviving the Great Depression and a fire that destroyed the plant, and still thrives today in rural Ohio. Few who work there now might remember the curious footnote in the company's history that occurred during World War II, when the rebuilt factory was diversified to build parts for PT boats and B-17 bombers. Today, it is ironic to consider a company that specializes in prosthetic limbs building parts for the war machine that unfortunately increases demand on companies making prosthetic limbs.