Military technology is a broad term that generally refers to any type of weapon, device, or method employed by a military force in a combat situation. These are often broken down into various categories, such as armor, firearms, munitions, artillery, and vehicles. Some areas under development in this field emphasize the utilization of robots, computers, and space technology.
The history of military technology can be traced back to the early use of weapons by human beings. Some examples of prehistoric military tools include spears and throwing sticks. Archaeologists have unearthed stone arrowheads in Africa that have been estimated to be over 60,000 years old. This suggests that bows and arrows were also an ancient type of weapon employed by people.
When people began to use metals such as bronze and copper, military technology became more advanced. For example, iron was critical in the development of the sword. The domestication of animals also provided a significant advancement in military capabilities, since horses can provide effective transportation for soldiers — allowing men to move faster and cover greater distances. The use of firearms, such as guns and rockets, in the early Middle Ages was also a significant development in military technology. By incorporating combustion, these types of weapons were more deadly and effective than earlier tools.
Modern military technology includes mechanized weaponry, such as machine guns and tanks. One of the most common types of machine guns is the Russian designed Kalashnikov, which is used all over the world because of its practicality and efficiency. Today's military technology is also significantly defined by the introduction of aircraft in combat situations. This advancement is thought to have radically changed the strategies and combat capabilities of modern militaries.
With developments in nuclear and rocket science, military technology during World War II and after generally focused on producing more dangerous types of missiles and bombs. This includes the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) and the atomic bomb. The Russian Tsar Bomba, a nuclear bomb that produced an explosion equivalent to 50 megatons of TNT, is often considered to be one of the most dangerous weapons developed.
The use of robots is an important part of current military technology. If robots are successfully employed, this may eliminate the reliance on human soldiers. For example, drone vehicles are used today as a form of aviation weapon, providing some of the same military capabilities as manned flights.