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Military Technological Innovations

November 12, 2021

The United States military has been responsible for a number of technological innovations. Many of these are integrated into our day-to-day lives and yet we have no idea that they originated in defense of our country. The list below highlights some of these innovations.

The Internet

The internet is older than you probably realize. The Department of Defense (DoD) established Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), the predecessor to today’s internet, in 1969 as a tool in the U.S.’s arsenal during the Cold War.

ARPANET linked computers at specific Pentagon-funded research institutions via telephone lines as a way for military commanders to have a communications system with no centralized location. The goal was to no longer employ a physical base of operations that could be destroyed by enemies resulting in the black out of an entire network.

The internet today still maintains the initial structure of ARPANET at its base, though at a much larger scale, sending packets of data from system to system. By 1976 there were 63 connected hosts using ARPANET. Today, there are over 1 billion internet hosts.

Learn more about the history of the internet and ARPANET on Britannica.com.

GPS

Most of us would be lost – literally – without our cell phones. When is the last time you referenced a paper map? We have the Navy and the DoD to thank for the little voice in our phone that tells us when we need to turn.

As early as the mid-1960s the Navy was conducting satellite navigation experiments using radio signals to pinpoint the locations of submarines. Research continued into the 70s when the DoD used satellites and launched the first Navigation System with Timing and Ranging (NAVSTAR) satellite in 1978.

The GPS of today is owned by the US Government and operated by the Air Force and offers two levels of service: Precise Positioning Service (PPS), which is limited for use by armed forces, the government, and select allies and Standard Positioning Service (SPS), which is available for free to all users worldwide. SPS is what enables us to get directions to everything from our own neighborhood to a historical site in a foreign country.

Learn more about the history of GPS on the NASA website.

Jet Engines

War is often an impetus for innovation. Radar, computers, penicillin, and the nuclear power all came out of necessity during World War II. Another key invention that arose during that time is the jet engine, which was first successfully operated by GE in 1942.

Designed by Britain's Sir Frank Whittle, the jet engine powered the then U.S. Army Air Corps’ first jet fighter, which flew at an astonishing speed of 620 mph in 1947. Jet engines use expanded greatly with the Korean war, with more than 35,000 J47 jet engines delivered by the end of the 1950s.

From there, GE went on to develop a number of increasingly fast an efficient jet engines and now supplies a large majority of the jet engines that are used on today’s aircraft, including the Boeing 777, Airbus, and a number of regional jets.  

Learn more about the history of the jet engine and aviation history on GE’s website.

Proud to Support Veterans

Capitol Tech is a proud member of The Yellow Ribbon Program, which is a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. The program means that Capitol Tech has entered into an agreement with the Veteran’s Administration (VA) so that qualifying veterans have the opportunity to pursue a degree tuition free. The university also participates with the Montgomery GI Bill and other military-based educational benefits.

More information on this benefit, including which veterans are eligible, is available on the Military and Veteran’s web page. Capitol Tech offers degrees in computer science, astronautical engineering, aviation, cyber and information security, and more. For more information on Capitol Tech’s degree programs, contact admissions@captechu.edu.