It had to happen somewhere: the first country to publicly state they are planning to use nanotechnology in weapons is…Israel. Before now, to my knowledge, only defensive uses have been discussed in public. From the Sydney Morning Herald:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has given the green light for Israel to set up a special office to develop a nanotechnology arsenal.
Yediot Aharonot said that Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres had been told to choose 15 top thinkers to focus on developing futuristic weaponry. The 15 would be selected from within the security establishment, the world of hi-tech and academia.
If their projects succeed, they will provide Israel with a response to the various threats from Palestinian rockets, suicide bombers, to long-range missiles and non-convential weapons, the newspaper said Friday.
From Spiegel Online:
The Israeli government plans to invest $230 million in nanotechnology research and development over the next five years, which would make nanoscience one of Israel’s most heavily invested R&D fields.
“The war in Lebanon proved that we need smaller weaponry,” said Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres. “It’s illogical to send a plane worth $100 million against a suicidal terrorist. So we are building futuristic weapons.”
Other ideas include miniature sensors to detect suicide bombers and “bionic man” gloves that would give the user super-human strength. Prototypes for the new weapons could be ready within three years, Peres said…
But the problem with such weapons is that insurgents and terrorists can use them, too.
Indeed. That is certainly a problem. Misuse of nanotech-based weapons may be the biggest problem of the 21st century. —Christine