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United Kingdom enters laser weapons race

United Kingdom enters laser weapons race

Business
July 10 (UPI) -- The United Kingdom's Ministry of Defense announced that it seeks developers of laser- and radio frequency-guided weapons to shoot down drones and other enemy threats. The concept is not new. The United States first employed non-lethal lasers in military service in 2014, largely to disable enemy electrical sensors, and the United Kingdom spent $ 37 million on a laser prototype in 2017. The announcement this week by the Ministry of Defense specifically calls for deployment of "high energy light beams to target and destroy enemy drones and missiles. Radio frequency weapons are designed to disrupt and disable enemy computers and electronics." It asks for development of three new DEW [Directed Energy Weapons] to "explore the potential of the technology and accelerate its intr...
Biologists name new rat snake species after little-known Iron Age kingdom

Biologists name new rat snake species after little-known Iron Age kingdom

Science
May 28 (UPI) -- Scientists have identified a new species of rat snake living in Eastern Europe. The team of herpetologists decided to name the snake after the often overlooked Iron Age kingdom of Urartu. Researchers long suspected that the so-called blotched rat snake, Elaphe sauromates, comprised multiple species. New genetic analysis confirmed their suspicions. In a new paper, published this week in the journal PeerJ, scientists described the new species, Elaphe urartica, and the expanded range of the blotched rat snake. The range of Elaphe urartica and Elaphe sauromates extends through Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Iraq, Iran and Russia. The blotched rat snake's scientific name was originally proposed by Peter Simon Pallas, a famed 19th century Prussian naturalist. The name ho...