Taiwan air force stand in attention in front of a battery of the indigenous Tien Chien "Sky Sword" surface to air missiles during an exercise at the air base, Tuesday, Aug. 24, in Chiayi, central Taiwan. (Associated Press/Wally Santana)

Google released new maps of Taiwan Wednesday, and in the process, exposed some of the island's hidden missile sites, Taiwanese media reported Friday.

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Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."

"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."

First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.

"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."

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A Bradley firing a TOW missile. (DoD photo/Wikiimedia Commons)

Early in 2018, reports emerged that the Pentagon was considering heavily upgrading its fleet of Bradley infantry fighting vehicles to an M2A5 model with a new 30-millimeter gun turret and capacity for a full nine-soldier squad.

However, an annual report makes clear that M2A5 Bradley concept has been canceled in favor of procuring an even more heavily-armed successor sooner—though the Pentagon is moving ahead with plans for a more agile M2A4 model carrying an Active Protection System capable of intercepting incoming missiles and rockets.

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The Army intends to drop some major cash to bolster its arsenal of 84mm Carl Gustaf recoilless rifles over the next three years, according to a new contract.

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A Ghadr-H missile, center, a solid-fuel surface-to-surface Sejjil missile and a portrait of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are displayed at Baharestan Square in Tehran, Iran, on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, for the annual Defense Week which marks the 37th anniversary of the 1980s Iran-Iraq war. (Associated Press/Vahid Salemi)

Iran tried twice in the past month to launch a satellite into space. Both attempts ended in failure, and it may not be an accident.

The U.S. has been secretly sabotaging Iranian missiles and rockets, the New York Times reported Wednesday, citing half a dozen current and former officials. Since the program began a little over a decade ago, 67 percent of Iran's orbital launches have failed. The global failure rate for similar launches is only 5 percent.

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The Army may have festooned its Stryker fighting vehicles with a slew of new armaments as part of the Pentagon's relentless pursuit of lethality, but the upgunned infantry carriers are apparently hobbled by a major deficiency that makes them especially vulnerable in a fight against Russia or China.

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