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What types of gear, ammunition, craft (air, land, sea, space) and weapons can be expected to be seen?

And could any of these examples account for the following:

  • gravitational effects if/where necessary

  • both reliably and predictably functional in atmospheres or in voids

  • alternatives to, or advancements over conventional munitions (lasers instead of projectiles)
  • alternatives to, or advancements over conventional chemically based weaponry and ammunition
  • self-replenishing ammunition (especially in the case of hand-held firearms)

With likely exceptions to any of the aforementioned points above, realistic and practical depictions of how military operations and weapons could change and improve, in a century or more to come, are anticipated.

Projected technological advancements shouldn't be disregarded, so long as the concepts in question are definable and understood within the capacities of our current understanding of technology and science. Possibilities of theoretical breakthroughs and scientific discoveries that could necessitate or impel novel developments should be considered and explored as well.

Any type of munitions may apply:

  • from infantry weapons to heavy ordinance
  • from drone to carrier
  • from man to machine
  • from sea to air, or land, to space and back again
  • from solid to gas and even liquid
  • from guns, to germs, steel and now binary
  • from micro to macro

Exceptions:

  • anything that is not feasible based on our current understanding of technology, engineering, natural sciences and theoretical sciences. Are lightsabers even theoretically possible? Cloaking or quantum camouflaging, AI or nueromorphic drones, even plasma force fields might be considered more feasible.
  • anything that is not practical in a logical or conventional sense. 30 foot robots are cool and all, but are we really going to need them for any sort of conventional warfare we can expect or anticipate in future? Exoskeletons might be more practical.
  • anything that is not achievable in the near or far future. If it's only a matter of time and/or resources then it should apply, but if it's a matter of suddenly and inexplicably stumbling across "alien tech" then, cool, but... uh, no (we can't prove they exist yet and we may never be able to, so no alien help - we humans need to manage this one ourselves).

In summary: No sci-fi stuff!

Although - I am a sucker for a great sci-fi concept, especially one you don't hear of very often. So if you are too, and you happen to have one of those "concepts" that you'd like to share, feel free to do so. Just be sure to make that distinction clear, it may not go without saying. It wouldn't be considered an answer, but it could still be appreciated.

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closed as too broad by Cort Ammon, L.Dutch, SPavel, Azuaron, kingledion Mar 23 '17 at 20:48

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to WorldBuilding, I recommend taking a look at the help center. These open ended "just tell me everything" questions aren't something we like to address here because the stack exchange format isn't good for them. The help center explains that further. Also, hard-science is a very particular tag on here, and what you are asking is most likely not hard science, unless you want us to dig up journal articles with equations to support our answers. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Mar 23 '17 at 20:15
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    $\begingroup$ You shouldn't really mix the tags hard-science and science-based as they are considered mutually exclusive. In short, hard science means "you need to bring references" whereas science based means "it has to be real science, but no references required". As this is about future weapon, I would suggest to stick to science-based (as I guess most of the really advanced stuff being researched is still secret and will have no references). $\endgroup$ – Mrkvička Mar 23 '17 at 20:25
  • $\begingroup$ @CortAmmon Thank you, that was very helpful. "hard-science" tag removed. Not "everything", more like "what you can", or "care to". $\endgroup$ – UncaughtTypeError Mar 23 '17 at 20:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Mrkvička Got it - tag in question already removed. $\endgroup$ – UncaughtTypeError Mar 23 '17 at 20:27
  • $\begingroup$ ^_^ Fair enough - It is still a fairly broad question, though; it would be beneficial if you could make it into a more narrow, specific version and, if needed, make multiple questions to cover several aspects. If I were you, I would take the munition I would believe to be the most realistic and ask about that one, then expand into the other areas. E.g., perhaps stick to "how will the near future look for laser weapon development". $\endgroup$ – Mrkvička Mar 23 '17 at 20:31
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With near future tech I can tell you what we're not going to see.

  • Mechs: If a mech is a robotic human standing up, a tank is one laying down. Forcing a armored vehicle to spread it's weight over limited contact points severely limits the weight it can carry and therefor the armor. A laying down losture like a tank is much harder to hit.

  • Power armor: What does infantry do? Attack the targets armor can't. Which these days means urban warfare. Especially inside buildings where armor can't go without destroying the structure. So they must be supported by floors and stairs. It's unlikely we develop armor light enough that infantry can still move inside buildings without the risk of collapse.

    Any armor light enough will be punctured by infantry weaponry. Not modern 5.56 but a slightly beefed up battlerifle should. If that fails we got things like the beowulf.

  • Infantry lasers, power supply remains an issue. Anything that is a total upgrade of regular guns will have unermous power consumption. Even if that wasn't an issue what about reliability? Can a standard infantryman field strip a laser rifle?

  • Radical improvement of regular firearms. It's highly unlikely barring a total breakthrough we're gonna change a whole lot. We're gonna add upgrades, tweak, refine. But as a whole we've about hit the ceiling. Aim assist is an add-on not a new weapon in itself.

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