Forecasting Military Technology 2020-2040

Michael Hanlon has an updated forecast which areas of military technology could have revolutionary change over the next 20 years.

Revolutionary change is defined as a type and pace of progress that renders obsolete old weapons, tactics and operational approaches while making new ones possible.

In reviewing the last 20 years (2000-2020), Hanlon believes only computers and robotics had revolutionary change. This would include drones.

Seven categories of military technology had high change—chemical sensors, biological sensors, radio communications, laser communications, radio-frequency weapons, nonlethal weapons, and biological weapons.

* Technological change of relevance to military innovation may be faster and more consequential in the next 20 years than it has proven to be over the last 20.
* Ongoing, rapid pace of computer innovation may make the next two decades more revolutionary than the last two.
* Robotics and in cybersecurity changes and impact will intensify. They may be more fully exploited by modern military organizations.
* artificial intelligence (AI) will have more impact
* Multiple countries (most notably China, but also Russia) are having the resources to compete with Western nations in military innovation.
* Directed energy systems, hypersonic missiles, and certain types of advanced materials, could play important supplemental roles in making the next two decades a true period of military revolution, or at least of very fast and ongoing rapid transformation.

Nextbigfuture notes that India will have the money and larger military budget from 2027-2040 for substantial impact.

Nextbigfuture sees more revolutionary Military Technology

Nextbigfuture finds a faster doubling rate for noisy qubits and the possibility of useful noisy qubit systems in 2-4 years instead of 10-12 years.

Nextbigfuture notes that IBM and others working on quantum computers have a faster doubling rate of 7 to 16 months.

From November 2017 to March 2018 there was the announcement of IBM 50 qubit prototype, Intel’s 49 qubit test chip and Google 72 qubit processor. These processors had 10% to as low as 1% error rates. In 2017, D-Wave systems had commercial availability of its 2000 qubit quantum annealing system.

Nextbigfuture’s Rough Timeline of noisy quantum computers from Google, Rigetti, IBM, Intel and others

100-150 qubit quantum computers in second half of 2018
200-300 qubit computers in first half of 2019
400-600 qubit computers late in 2019
800-1600 qubit computers in 2020
1600-4000 qubit computers in 2021
3000-10000 qubit computers in 2022

D-Wave Systems could get funding to convert their 5000 qubit quantum annealing system to low error rate qubits. They would try to get this working in 2020-2021 if the funding is provided.

The peak of this age of noisy quantum computers could be quantum computers with 1000 qubits and two-qubit errors rates less than 1 in 1000. This is Google’s near-term goal, which might be reached in 2020.

There could be utility in pushing to 10,000 qubits with two-qubit error rates less than 1 in 10000. These could arrive around 2022.

China is also spending billions to develop quantum radar. Quanutm radar will enable the long-range detection of stealth planes.

SpaceX should have the SpaceX BFR ready around 2023

SpaceX will have its fully reusable SpaceX BFR ready around 2023. They need $2 to 10 billion to develop it. There will be sufficient support from the US military to ensure that SpaceX BFR is developed.

DARPA Blackjack low-earth orbit satellite network

Mr. Paul “Rusty” Thomas, Program Manager, DARPA Tactical Technology Office presented at the Future In-Space Operations (FISO) Working Group Telecon. He described the “DARPA Blackjack Demo Program – Pivot to LEO & Tactical Space Architecture”. This would be 90+ low-earth orbit spy satellites. DARPA plans a 20 satellite demo and then full deployment could start in 2022.

Many low-earth orbit spy satellites would be tougher for Russia and China to take out. A constellation of low-earth orbit spy satellites could be less expensive and more powerful than a single larger geosynchronous satellite.

Interceptors

5 thoughts on “Forecasting Military Technology 2020-2040”

  1. First: What defines “useful” for a “noisy Qubit system”? Less power needed? Smaller package so it fits in smaller boxes? More reliable than transistors? What? More computational power isn’t necessarily “useful” if the software can’t take advantage or the hardware can’t provide information fast enough. Second: BFR is going forward without any military or USG patronage. Congress would flip if a direct competitor to SLS was being funded by the Executive Branch. Musk is hoping that his new Starlink internet service will provide the funding for BFR (along with the occasional paying private customer).

    Reply
  2. First: What defines useful”” for a “”””noisy Qubit system””””? Less power needed? Smaller package so it fits in smaller boxes? More reliable than transistors? What? More computational power isn’t necessarily “”””useful”””” if the software can’t take advantage or the hardware can’t provide information fast enough.Second: BFR is going forward without any military or USG patronage. Congress would flip if a direct competitor to SLS was being funded by the Executive Branch. Musk is hoping that his new Starlink internet service will provide the funding for BFR (along with the occasional paying private customer).”””

    Reply
  3. First: What defines “useful” for a “noisy Qubit system”? Less power needed? Smaller package so it fits in smaller boxes? More reliable than transistors? What? More computational power isn’t necessarily “useful” if the software can’t take advantage or the hardware can’t provide information fast enough.

    Second: BFR is going forward without any military or USG patronage. Congress would flip if a direct competitor to SLS was being funded by the Executive Branch. Musk is hoping that his new Starlink internet service will provide the funding for BFR (along with the occasional paying private customer).

    Reply
  4. First: What defines “useful” for a “noisy Qubit system”? Less power needed? Smaller package so it fits in smaller boxes? More reliable than transistors? What? More computational power isn’t necessarily “useful” if the software can’t take advantage or the hardware can’t provide information fast enough. Second: BFR is going forward without any military or USG patronage. Congress would flip if a direct competitor to SLS was being funded by the Executive Branch. Musk is hoping that his new Starlink internet service will provide the funding for BFR (along with the occasional paying private customer).

    Reply
  5. First: What defines useful”” for a “”””noisy Qubit system””””? Less power needed? Smaller package so it fits in smaller boxes? More reliable than transistors? What? More computational power isn’t necessarily “”””useful”””” if the software can’t take advantage or the hardware can’t provide information fast enough.Second: BFR is going forward without any military or USG patronage. Congress would flip if a direct competitor to SLS was being funded by the Executive Branch. Musk is hoping that his new Starlink internet service will provide the funding for BFR (along with the occasional paying private customer).”””

    Reply

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