5 Military Technologies that Serve More than Just Military Purposes

By Group29CS104 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Group29CS104 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The military forces of different nations are more than just defenders of their respective territories. They are not only involved in wars and “peacekeeping” endeavors. They are also sources of new technologies. You’ll probably be surprised to know how many of the most useful technologies that are in current and of potential use come from military research and development efforts.

The following are some of the best military technologies that go beyond military applications:

1. Technology for Converting Seawater into Fuel

We’ve written a post about this earlier and we believe it’s worth mentioning it again. The US Navy says that they have already developed the technology to use seawater as fuel. The US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) did a demo on how their technology makes it possible to tap the world’s abundant seawater supply as a fuel source. They were able to fly a miniaturized version of a P-51 (of the Red Tail Squadron). This technology is expected to benefit both military and civilian ships and aircraft in the future.

However, the world will have to wait for seven to ten more years before the technology can become widely usable. According to the US Navy, more studies and tests will be needed before the technology can be commercialized. More research and development work will have to be undertaken to make the technology safe and efficient. Nevertheless, with a promising demonstration staged, it’s safe to say that we now have a solution to the excessive dependence on fossil fuels.

2. Carbon Nanotubes

At the recent USA Science & Engineering Festival, a number of technologies developed under the US Department of Defense were showcased. One of these is carbon nanotubes — lightweight and ultra-durable materials that can be used for aircraft construction, as viewed in the Department of Defense’s perspective. However, for non-military folks, they can also be used for something more beneficial: generating perpetual solar power. Harvard and MIT scientists found out that these carbon nanotubes can store solar energy indefinitely if they are coated with azobenzene. When attached to carbon nanotubes, azobenzene molecules are arranged in such a way that make them useful for mass energy storage. This should bolster solar power generation efficiency and improve the cost-to-benefit ratio of solar power panels.

By CILAS (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

By CILAS (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

3. Laser Reconnaissance

Laser reconnaissance is used by the military to have reliable information about an area’s layout even in the presence of trees and other forms of obstructions. By beaming hundreds of lasers to the ground, it becomes possible to see details that cameras or other forms of military visual aids cannot detect. This technology, however, can also be used in monitoring geological changes over time. It can be utilized to analyze the earth and its changes  It goes beyond It can be employed in creating detailed maps for disaster planning and risk management.

4. Pizza with a Three-Year Shelf Life

Who doesn’t like pizza? Even military men and women love this popular food. Just recently, researchers at a US military laboratory in Massachusetts have developed a pizza recipe that can last for a very long time (approximately three years) without the need for freezing or refrigeration. According to Jill Bates, a US military researcher, the long-lasting pizza they developed “pretty much tastes just like a typical pan pizza that you would make at home.”

5. High Efficiency Systems

This does not refer to any specific technology but it should be great to know that the military (the US military in particular) is notably dedicated to efficient technologies. Everything the military does or uses is carefully analyzed to achieve optimization. From the amount of oil they use for their tanks to the precision of the weapons they develop, the military has a desirable obsession with efficiency and even for renewable fuel sources. They measure everything to ensure that the amount of limited resources they use is well-justified. the For this, the US military has been branded as a useful ally on climate change.

By U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Arlo K. Abrahamson. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Arlo K. Abrahamson. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The five technologies mentioned above prove that useful technology can come from a wide range of origins. It does not have to be developed by a civilian facility or laboratory to be considered beneficial for common people. Military technology is often feared or at least perceived to be inherently hostile or destructive. With the list above, it can be proved that such is not the case.