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03 AUGUST, 2017 (MAINS)



Q1. “The main aims of military research   into nanotechnology are to improve medical and casualty care for soldiers, and to produce lightweight, strong and multi-functional materials for use in clothing, both for protection and to provide enhanced connectivity.” As seen above, there is considerable scope for nanotechnology to be applied to military purposes. Discuss. (200 words)


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  • Osho Korde

    The Ministry of Defence in the UK has predicted that technologies such as medical nanobots and nano-enhanced reconnaissance and communication devices (such as micro-radar for miniature vehicles) will begin to be used from 2030 onwards.
    • Si or TiO2 nanoparticles embedded in epoxy matrix
    • SiO2 nanoparticles in a liquid polymer which hardens on ballistic impact (Shear Thickening Fluid)
    • Iron nanoparticles in inert oil which hardens on stimulation with an electrical pulse (Magnetorheological Fluid)
    • As nanotechnology allows the further development of the “battlefield network”, where soldiers, command posts, scout teams and remotely operated or autonomous drones and vehicles are integrated with rapid, secure communication and control channels, there will be a tendency to delegate more and more decisions to semi-autonomous systems which respond automatically to developing situations.
    • As this sort of technology starts to expand back into the civilian realm, there will be an enormous challenge to regulate the use of nanobots, miniature communications systems, etc. Widespread availability of these devices would inevitably lead to their use for criminal activity and terrorist attacks. Some of the medical applications of nanotechnology, developed to improve soliders’ endurance and performance, would also need careful regulation for general medical applications