You won’t believe the military-grade tech you can buy

By Jeremy Wilson on September 26th, 2013

For tech addicts it can sometimes be hard to look but not touch the shiny toys members of the armed forces get to play with. Well, some of those goodies might be closer to hand than you think: here’s a list of military-grade tech you can get your greedy mitts on right now.


If you’re looking to hide your internet browsing from private eyes, your best option is to download a free copy of The Onion Router (Tor) browser package. While Tor was once the preserve of journalists and peodophiles, it now includes a healthy dose of paranoid netizens among its users. It has frequently found itself in the news recently as the method used by online black markets such as Silk Road to keep their services online.

While the service itself has become somewhat mainstream, many of its users are unaware of Tor’s military origins. It was originally developed with support from the US Navy as a way to encrypt their communications.



A digital Babel Fish still remains a holy grail for software developers. While Google Translate has become mainstream, the dream of a seamless translation device is still just that, a dream. Despite this, there are several options out there for those wishing to attempt cross-lingual conversations, one of which is the brilliantly named Phraselator.

The Phraselator is a brick-sized device that has been issued to US military personnel throughout the world. Simply talk into the device and the Phraselator will translate it into your language of choice. Sounds too good to be true? You can buy one for the paltry sum of $1,495 on eBay and check it out for yourself.


Blast-proof underwear

Necessity breeds innovation and the realities of fighting insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan have led to Western Nations developing some unusual products. If you’ve always hankered after a pair of bomb-proof underwear, you can thank the grim reality of IED attacks for making your dreams a reality.

Both Britain and the USA developed their own toughened panties and issued tens of thousands of pairs to troops that were deployed in Afghanistan. And, for a price, you can own a pair too.

The British version can be found for just $9.99 online.


Prism 200c

Do you want to see through walls? Of course you do. Fortunately, so do the military, who have emerged as the target market for the Prism 200c, a backpack sized machine that can “look” through solid objects and display an image of the other side. The Prism 200c was developed by Cambridge Consultants, suppliers of holographic radar technology to the US Navy.

Aquiring a Prism 200c is significantly easier than becoming a superhero.



Militaries are acquiring iPads and iPhones en-masse, with reports of the US Department of Defense putting in large orders for iOS devices. But the most fascinating convergence of iPads and tech is this picture by Reuters photographer Mohamed Abdullah of Free Syrian Army rebels using an iPad to guide mortar fire. There’s an app for that.

A member of the 'Ansar Dimachk' Brigade which operates under the Free Syrian Army uses an iPad during preparations to fire a homemade mortar in Jobar


Public servants are as careless with data as they are with money. It’s embarrassing when someone from a health department leaves their laptop on a train, but a similar breach by a senior military figure could be disastrous. It’s for this reason that military and other government departments throughout the world use IRONkey USB Flash Drives. Physically tampering with one will render it unusable and, best of all, the data will self destruct if the wrong password is used multiple times in a row.

Fortunately IRONkey is available to us regular Joes too, so we can keep our prized gif files super safe. A basic IRONkey USB flash drive can be found online for $32.30.



Thought the Jawbone Bluetooth headsets were just for lorry drivers and people keen to look very silly? Think again, Jawbone headsets are endowed with military- grade technology: NoiseAssasin, a noise-canceling innovation. Infact, Jawbone was founded by two Stanford University graduates who started off developing noise-cancelling technology for the U.S. military.

If it’s good enough to be used in tanks and helicopters, it’s good enough to use as you power walk down the street barking Saturday night drinking plans to your mates.


Xplore’s iX104C5

Cracked iPads are two a penny, hell, we even have one in the office. If you’re fed up of handling Apple’s delicate-flower tablets, why not stretch to the $5505 iX104C5 DMSR-M2. Built to military specifications, it can survive a seven foot drop onto concrete and can be submerged three foot under water. It is currently being used on the front line by the US military.

If you find the iPad too common, but can’t stomach the thought of sporting an Android, the iX104C5 could be for you. Team it with a gold iPhone and people will know you mean business.


The Delta Unit

Remote control vehicles are a dime a dozen, but ones with the capability of “The Delta Unit” are a little harder to come by. Designed as a “Surveillance Reconnaissance Robot” it can be deployed as a first set of eyes by police and military units. Fit the optional sensors and it can relay poisonous gases and radiation levels back to a comfortable command center.

It’s yours for just $8990. Useful for dealing with bomb threats and carrying out ad-hoc hazmat inspections.