3 non-developed countries you never thought to have stronger military power than developed ones

1. Ethiopia: Ethioipia is currently ranked 41 (of 133 countries) according to the GFP review.

Air Power – Includes both fixed-wing and rotary-wing (helicopter) aircraft from all branches of service (Air Force, Navy, Army). Air power is just one important component of the modern military force. Attack Aircraft represents fixed-wing and dedicated forms as well as light strike types (some basic and advanced trainers fill this role). Some fighters can double as attack types and vice versa – this is how multi-role aircraft can be of considerable value. Transport and Trainer aircraft include both fixed-wing and rotary-wing types. z
Image result for ethiopia military

Army Strength – Tank value includes Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) and light tanks (a few remain in service) as well as those vehicles considered “tank destroyers”. There is no distinction made between all-wheel and track-and-wheel designs. Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV) value includes Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) as well as Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs).

Navy Strength – Aircraft Carrier value includes both traditional aircraft carriers as well as “helicopter carrier” warships (the latter growing in popularity worldwide). Cruisers are no longer tracked due to their declining value on the world stage. Submarines value includes both diesel-electric and nuclear-powered types. Total Naval Assets is not simply a sum of the presented navy ship categories – instead it includes all showcased types along with any known / recognized auxiliary vessels (not tracked individually by this site).

The military power of Ethiopia is still stronger than developed countries like Chile, Philippines, Finland.

2. Nigeria: Nigeria is currently ranked 43 (of 133 countries) according to the GFP review.
Image result for nigeria military

Air Power – Includes both fixed-wing and rotary-wing (helicopter) aircraft from all branches of service (Air Force, Navy, Army). Air power is just one important component of the modern military force. Attack Aircraft represents fixed-wing and dedicated forms as well as light strike types (some basic and advanced trainers fill this role). Some fighters can double as attack types and vice versa – this is how multi-role aircraft can be of considerable value. Transport and Trainer aircraft include both fixed-wing and rotary-wing types.

Army Strength – Tank value includes Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) and light tanks (a few remain in service) as well as those vehicles considered “tank destroyers”. There is no distinction made between all-wheel and track-and-wheel designs. Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV) value includes Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) as well as Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs).

Navy Strength – Aircraft Carrier value includes both traditional aircraft carriers as well as “helicopter carrier” warships (the latter growing in popularity worldwide). Cruisers are no longer tracked due to their declining value on the world stage. Submarines value includes both diesel-electric and nuclear-powered types. Total Naval Assets is not simply a sum of the presented navy ship categories – instead it includes all showcased types along with any known / recognized auxiliary vessels (not tracked individually by this site).
The military power of Nigeria is still stronger than developed countries like South Africa, UAE, Finland, Austria.

3. Bangladesh: Bangladesh is currentyly ranked 57 (of 133 countries) according to the GFP review.
Image result for bangladesh military

Air Power – Includes both fixed-wing and rotary-wing (helicopter) aircraft from all branches of service (Air Force, Navy, Army). Air power is just one important component of the modern military force. Attack Aircraft represents fixed-wing and dedicated forms as well as light strike types (some basic and advanced trainers fill this role). Some fighters can double as attack types and vice versa – this is how multi-role aircraft can be of considerable value. Transport and Trainer aircraft include both fixed-wing and rotary-wing types. EXTERNAL LINK: Aircraft throughout the military history of Bangladesh.

Army Strength – Tank value includes Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) and light tanks (a few remain in service) as well as those vehicles considered “tank destroyers”. There is no distinction made between all-wheel and track-and-wheel designs. Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV) value includes Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) as well as Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs).

Navy Strength – Aircraft Carrier value includes both traditional aircraft carriers as well as “helicopter carrier” warships (the latter growing in popularity worldwide). Cruisers are no longer tracked due to their declining value on the world stage. Submarines value includes both diesel-electric and nuclear-powered types. Total Naval Assets is not simply a sum of the presented navy ship categories – instead it includes all showcased types along with any known / recognized auxiliary vessels (not tracked individually by this site).

The military power of Bangladesh is still stronger than developed countries like Portugal, Belgium, New Zealand.

Death from above? Drones and robots being developed to play more than just assistive roles

Drones carrying guns are available todayDuke Robotics
Wars of the future might actually have fewer casualties of soldiers considering how advancements in technology are making battlefields more reliant on drones and robots than putting actual people in the frontlines.

Armies and defence companies from around the world are creating and developing weapons based on artificial intelligence and autonomous machine learning and in some cases, leaning towards them more than conventional weapons.

Duke Robotics, for example, a company that specialises in weapon technology, has developed a drone that can hold and fire a machine gun from the sky.

Called the TIKAD, it is a drone with a gun that can be remotely operated and fired from a distance.

“Over the last few years, we have seen how the needs of our troops in our battlefield have changed,” said Raziel Atuar, Duke Robotics CEO who is also, according to a company release, a former Special Mission Unit commander.

Duke, in its report, claims that army to army combat has become rare and that guerrilla warfare is more common, but using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) to fire small arms is a technology that has not yet been a viable option.

Atuar pointed out that terrorists often hide in civilian areas, and because of the risk of collateral damage, it is not possible to call in missile strikes. He added that the primary solution is to send in ground troops, but the risk of losing soldiers is also high and that is why they “created the solution — the TIKAD”.

TIKAD, according to the company, is intended for use by governments and has “a unique suppression firing and stabilisation solution” which, it claims, allows for stable flight, recoil control, as well as gives soldiers the ability to fire precisely and is completely remotely operated.

Duke Robotics claims that the TIKAD will weigh 50kg and be capable of flying up to 1,500ft. The drone apparently can also carry a range of semi-automatic weapons as well as a 40mm grenade launcher.

In a statement made to Digital Trends, Atuar said: “We are in the process of implementing an initial order from the Israeli ministry of defence, and we are in contact with selected governments as potential customers.” He added that information about which governments have ordered how many such drones is sensitive and that governments will have to decide when they want to share such information.

Duke has also been able to mount a sniper rifle on to their drones. It might be possible for soldiers to operate these drones at a street level instead of having to work from several hundred metres away, hidden.

Reaper and predator drones and other types of military drones have always been outfitted with several guns and other weapons systems. Drones that are small enough to operate at the street level, holding and firing guns can be called a recent development. Small drones like the 18 grams weighing PD-100 Black Hornet have so far been tested and used by the military more in reconnaissance roles than in active combat. There are, reportedly plans to create swarms of small drones that confuse enemy radar by forming something like a blanket with sensors, according to military.com

There have been expositions of advanced weaponry that rely on machines making decisions rather than using people to be present fighting each other. Missiles that can steer themselves, guns that can find their own targets and drones that can swarm enemy territory under a hive mind are reportedly not too far away.

Until robots are able to fight themselves and hopefully not unite against humans, there are remotely controlled weapons like drones that are being developed which makers hope would reduce the number of soldier and civilian deaths that battles claim.

Drones have become the mainstay in army operations across the world. Providing assistance to ground troops, reaper and predator drones, for example, have reportedly become precise enough to operate at what the Pentagon calls “danger-close” distances, according to the Los Angeles Times. That means, ordnance delivered from a drone has around one in a thousand chance of physical incapacitation (PI) of troops operating in the area and the PI will last for five minutes after an attack. Such close proximity will be considered “danger-close”, according to globalsecurity.org.

“Ideally you don’t want to accept that level of risk unless you have to,” said Col Julian C Cheater, commander at Creech Air Force Base, where most US Predator and Reaper drone pilots are based. “But in an urban fight — like you’re now seeing in Raqqah (Isis stronghold) — options might not be available to you,” he told the LA Times.

Options, however, seem to exist in the form of smaller drones equipped with guns like the TIKAD.

So will gun-handling drones change the course of warfare in the near future and possibly reduce the number of deaths? Drones getting more and more capable, however, may not be the answer.

Consumer drones, on the other hand, are right now getting more powerful, cheap and have the potential to be used for nefarious purposes because small drones are also not too far from getting weaponised.

Companies that make consumer drones usually have inbuilt geofencing systems that self-restrict their usage in no-fly zones and other restricted air spaces, but such systems are reportedly easy to hack. Verge reported on a Russian company that has built and sells mods that remove restrictions that drones work under either through hardware, software, or a combination of the two.

A YouTube video demonstrating a homemade drone where a handgun was fired remotely using actuators and able to stay stable at flight was published a few years back. Not much is known of the project and the maker of the device is yet to reply when reached out for comments, but as a proof of concept, the possibility of such a device being developed locally does not seem too far-fetched.

New tool developed by Stanford engineers helps parched regions plan how to replenish aquifers

Stanford engineers have developed a software tool called AquaCharge that enables planners to devise the most cost-effective ways to reuse precious water. Image credit: iStock/tuachanwatthana
The federal government reports that 40 states expect water shortages by 2024 and water worries already plague some cities across the United States. Underground aquifers that were over-tapped for years now cry out to be replenished. The problem is that the two main strategies for increasing water supplies – collecting stormwater runoff and recycling treated wastewater – are usually separate processes that can create costly and underused infrastructure.

Now two Stanford environmental engineers have developed a computational planning tool called AquaCharge that helps urban water utilities look at their local circumstances and understand how they could combine these two water supply strategies into an integrated, efficient and cost-effective system that replenishes aquifers.

This planning tool and hybrid approach are so innovative that the American Society of Civil Engineers recently honored Jonathan Bradshaw, a graduate student in civil and environmental engineering, and Richard Luthy, a professor of civil and environmental engineering, for developing AquaCharge.

“The ideas of recycling waste water and capturing stormwater are not new,” said Luthy. “What’s new here is to think about how to combine what had been separate systems into a single approach to recharge groundwater.”

Cost vs. need

Neither strategy for increasing water supplies is without drawbacks. A number of utilities in California collect stormwater, such as the rainfall that pours down mountainsides during the wet season, and channel it into big “spreading basins,” which are essentially leaky ponds that are porous enough for water to percolate back down to an aquifer. Aquifers serve as natural storage banks, holding water for future use instead of letting it wash out to the ocean.

Although this approach is effective, spreading basins require a large amount of land that is often underutilized. That’s because engineers typically designed the basins to be big enough to capture and process large volumes of water during the stormy season. As a consequence of this design, the basins remain largely idle through the dry months. By some estimates, Los Angeles’ spreading basins on average percolate only 12 percent of their theoretical annual capacity. Not all districts have access to land that can lay idle so much of the year.

Wastewater recycling poses a different set of challenges. Some utilities treat wastewater to the point that it can be used safely for agricultural irrigation or certain industrial purposes, such as circulating through the cooling towers of a power plant. Such uses reduce the burden on aquifers or other water sources.

However, regulations require that this recycled water be conveyed in a pipeline separate from drinking water pipes. Although many cities have a large potential to produce recycled water, the high cost of such separate piping systems means that only a small fraction of this potential actually gets developed. And so most treated wastewater flows back into the sea, or into rivers and streams.

A hybrid system

With these trade-offs, regions may decide that the land requirements or piping costs drive them toward one or the other system. However, other communities have developed hybrid approaches combining the two strategies.

Orange County, California, which has become a leader in groundwater replenishment, purifies its wastewater so that it is clean enough to drink – then pumps this highly purified recycled water into spreading basins to recharge the region’s underground aquifer. This is analogous to stormwater capture in the sense that the water percolates back into underground storage banks, except that the water source is purified wastewater rather than rainfall or snowmelt.

Inspired by water reuse leaders like Orange County, the Stanford researchers created AquaCharge to assist other local authorities in comparing the tradeoffs between different designs in order to find the most cost-effective system in their region.

The software looks at factors such as the availability of spreading basins and stormwater supplies, the potential to produce recycled water and options for installing recycled water pipelines.

“Our method not only allows you to think about a new kind of hybrid water replenishment system,” Bradshaw said. “It also helps determine what sort of system will meet a city’s goals at the lowest cost.”

Luthy said AquaCharge could greatly improve the use and reuse of water. California, for instance, currently recycles about 15 percent of its available treated wastewater effluent. State water planners would like to double or triple that amount by 2030.

By allowing communities to make complex calculations that reveal costs and benefits of reuse strategies, Luthy says, “AquaCharge could help the state meet that goal.”

Tough, self-healing rubber developed

Self-healing rubber links permanent covalent bonds (red) with reversible hydrogen bonds (green).

Imagine a tire that could heal after being punctured or a rubber band that never snapped.

Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a new type of rubber that is as tough as natural rubber but can also self-heal.

The research is published in Advanced Materials.

Self-healing materials aren’t new — researchers at SEAS have developed self-healing hydrogels, which rely on water to incorporate reversible bonds that can promote healing. However, engineering self-healing properties in dry materials — such as rubber — has proven more challenging. That is because rubber is made of polymers often connected by permanent, covalent bonds. While these bonds are incredibly strong, they will never reconnect once broken.

In order to make a rubber self-healable, the team needed to make the bonds connecting the polymers reversible, so that the bonds could break and reform.

“Previous research used reversible hydrogen bonds to connect polymers to form a rubber but reversible bonds are intrinsically weaker than covalent bonds,” said Li-Heng Cai, a postdoctoral fellow at SEAS and corresponding author of the paper. “This raised the question, can we make something tough but can still self-heal?”

Cai, along with Jinrong Wu, a visiting professor from Sichuan University, China, and senior author David A. Weitz, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, developed a hybrid rubber with both covalent and reversible bonds.

The concept of mixing both covalent and reversible bonds to make a tough, self-healing rubber was proposed in theory by Cai but never shown experimentally because covalent and reversible bonds don’t like to mix.

“These two types of bonds are intrinsically immiscible, like oil and water,” said Cai.

So, the researchers developed a molecular rope to tie these two types of bonds together. This rope, called randomly branched polymers, allows two previously unmixable bonds to be mixed homogeneously on a molecular scale. In doing so, they were able to create a transparent, tough, self-healing rubber.

Typical rubber tends to crack at certain stress point when force is applied. When stretched, hybrid rubber develops so-called crazes throughout the material, a feature similar to cracks but connected by fibrous strands. These crazes redistribute the stress, so there is no localized point of stress that can cause catastrophic failure. When the stress is released, the material snaps back to its original form and the crazes heal.

Harvard’s Office of Technology Development has filed a patent application for the technology and is actively seeking commercialization opportunities.

The self-healing ability is appealing for a wide variety of rubber products.

“Imagine that we could use this material as one of the components to make a rubber tire,” said Wu. “If you have a cut through the tire, this tire wouldn’t have to be replaced right away. Instead, it would self-heal while driving enough to give you leeway to avoid dramatic damage.”

“There is still a lot more to do,” said Weitz. “For materials science, it is not fully understood why this hybrid rubber exhibits crazes when stretched. For engineering, the applications of the hybrid rubber that take advantage of its exceptional combination of optical transparency, toughness, and self-healing ability remain to be explored. Moreover, the concept of using molecular design to mix covalent and reversible bonds to create a homogenous hybrid elastomer is quite general and should enable development of tough, self-healing polymers of practical usage.”

Prosthetic Arm Technology That Detects Spinal Nerve Signals Developed By Team

Scientists have developed sensor technology for a robotic prosthetic arm that detects signals from nerves in the spinal cord.

To control the prosthetic, the patient has to think like they are controlling a phantom arm and imagine some simple manoeuvres, such as pinching two fingers together. The sensor technology interprets the electrical signals sent from spinal motor neurons and uses them as commands.

A motor neuron is a nerve cell that is located in the spinal cord. Its fibres, called axons, project outside the spinal cord to directly control muscles in the body.

Robotic arm prosthetics currently on the market are controlled by the user twitching the remnant muscles in their shoulder or arm, which are often damaged. This technology is fairly basic in its functionality, only performing one or two grasping commands. This drawback means that globally around 40-50 per cent of users discard this type of robotic prosthetic.

The team in today’s study, published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, say detecting signals from spinal motor neurons in parts of the body undamaged by amputation, instead of remnant muscle fibre, means that more signals can be detected by the sensors connected to the prosthetic. This means that ultimately more commands could be programmed into the robotic prosthetic, making it more functional.

More useful for patients

Dr Dario Farina, who is now based at Imperial College London, carried out much of the research while at the University Medical Centre Gottingen. The research was conducted in conjunction with Dr Farina’s co-authors in Europe, Canada and the USA.

Dr Farina, from the Department of Bioengineering and Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial, said: “When an arm is amputated the nerve fibres and muscles are also severed, which means that it is very difficult to get meaningful signals from them to operate a prosthetic. We’ve tried a new approach, moving the focus from muscles to the nervous system. This means that our technology can detect and decode signals more clearly, opening up the possibility of robotic prosthetics that could be far more intuitive and useful for patients. It is a very exciting time to be in this field of research.”

The researchers carried out lab-based experiments with six volunteers who were either amputees from the shoulder down or just above the elbow. After some physiotherapy training, the amputees were able to make a more extensive range of movements than would be possible using a classic muscle-controlled robotic prosthetic. They came to this conclusion by comparing their research to previous studies on muscle-controlled robotic prosthetics.

The volunteers were able to move the elbow joint and do radial movements – moving the wrist from side to side – as well as opening and closing the hand.  This means that the user has all basic hand and arm functions of a real arm.

Further refinements are needed to make the technology more robust, but the researchers suggest the current model could be on the market in the next three years.

Surgical procedure

To take part in the study, volunteers underwent a surgical procedure at the Medical University of Vienna that involved re-routing parts of their Peripheral Nervous System (PNS), connected with hand and arm movements, to healthy muscles in their body. Depending on the type of amputation, this re-routing was either directed to the pectoral muscle in the chest or the bicep in the arm. This enabled the team to clearly detect the electrical signals sent from the spinal motor neurons – a process the team liken to amplification of the signals.

To create the technology, the researchers decoded and mapped some of the information in electrical signals sent from the re-routed nerve cells and then interpreted them in computer models. These models were then compared to models of healthy patients, which helped them to corroborate the results. Ultimately, the scientists want to decode the meaning behind all signals sent from these motor neurons, so that they can program a full range of arm and hand functions in the prosthetic. This would mean that the user could use the prosthetic almost as seamlessly as if it was their own arm.

The team then encoded specific motor neuron signals as commands into the design of the prosthetic. They then connected a sensor patch on the muscle that had been operated on as part the re-routing procedure, which was connected to the prosthetic. The amputees worked with physiotherapists so they could learn how to control the device by thinking about specific phantom arm and hand commands.

This research has taken the team to the end of the proof of concept stage with laboratory tests. The next step will involve extensive clinical trials with a much wider cross section of volunteers so that the technology can be made more robust.

The work was supported by the European Research Council, the Christian Doppler Research Foundation of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy and the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

Study Says Drugs Could Be Developed Cheaper And Faster

Chemists at the University of Waterloo, SCIEX and Pfizer have discovered a new way to help the pharmaceutical industry identify and test new drugs, which could revolutionize drug development, and substantially reduce the cost and time drugs need to reach their market.

The study, published in the journal ACS Central Science, outlines a technique called differential mobility spectrometry (DMS) which analyzes drug molecules based on their response to an electrical field and the condensation-evaporation cycles the drug experiences in that field via a process known as microsolvation.

“We can use this technique to measure drug properties in seconds to minutes with only nanograms of sample,” says Scott Hopkins, a professor of chemistry at the University of Waterloo and corresponding author on the paper. “It’s cost saving and high throughput, so you can test hundreds, even thousands of drugs quickly, increasing the rate of drug discovery.”

Currently drug candidates are put through a battery of tests to measure their chemical and physical properties, such as how easily the drug crosses cell membranes, to predict how it will behave in the human body. Drugs must perform within a specific range in order to move forward to clinical trials. Most drugs fail the initial stages resulting in lost time and money.

“It takes time to grow cells and run replicate experiments to measure permeability,” said Hopkins. “These kinds of assays are an arduous process, and the people that conduct this work are artists as well as scientists.”

In contrast, these essential physical and chemical properties can be extracted all at once with a single analysis using DMS. The technique is so sensitive it can differentiate between the same drug molecules with slightly different atomic structures – something traditional testing methods cannot do.

“With this technology, the initial stages of drug development testing can be completed in hours rather than days,” says Hopkins. “It’s not only several orders of magnitude faster, it gives us information we never had access to before that we can use for rational drug design.”

Beyond improving the testing and design drugs go through, Hopkins is hopeful this technology will improve the success of candidate drugs being proposed in the first place by informing the design process.

Non-Flammable Graphene Membrane Developed For Safe Mass Production

University of Arkansas researchers have discovered a simple and scalable method for turning graphene oxide into a non-flammable and paper-like graphene membrane that can be used in large-scale production.

“Due to their mechanical strength and excellent charge and heat conductivities, graphene-based materials have generated enormous excitement,” said Ryan Tian, associate professor of inorganic chemistry in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. “But high flammability jeopardizes the material’s promise for large-scale manufacturing and wide applications.”

Graphene’s extremely high flammability has been an obstacle to further development and commercialization. However, this new discovery  makes it possible to mass-produce graphene and graphene membranes to improve a host of products, from fuel cells to solar cells to supercapacitors and sensors. Tian has a provisional patent for this new discovery.

Using metal ions with three or more positive charges, researchers in Tian’s laboratory bonded graphene-oxide flakes into a transparent membrane. This new form of carbon-polymer sheet is flexible, nontoxic and mechanically strong, in addition to being non-flammable.

Further testing of the material suggested that crosslinking, or bonding, using transition metals and rare-earth metals, caused the graphene oxide to possess new semiconducting, magnetic and optical properties.

For the past decade, scientists have focused on graphene, a two-dimensional material that is a single atom in thickness, because it is one of the strongest, lightest and most conductive materials known. For these reasons, graphene and similar two-dimensional materials hold great potential to substitute for traditional semiconductors. Graphene oxide is a common intermediate for graphene and graphene-derived materials made from graphite, which is a crystalline form of carbon.

The research was conducted by Hulusi Turgut, doctoral student in the U of A microelectronics-photonics program and the Institute for Nanoscience and Engineering. Part of the material’s characterization was done by Fengjiao Yu and Wuzong Zhou at the University of St. Andrews in the United Kingdom.

The researchers’ findings were published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry. This intellectual property is patented by the University of Arkansas.