Historical Perspective of Materials and Contemporary Warfare Technologies

  • Narendra Kumar
  • Ambesh Dixit


Warfare technology is as old as the existence of mankind. It is, however, undergone a drastic change from weapons carved out of materials available in different materials’ ages such as Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, and new age of variety of advanced materials, including polymers, nanomaterials, and so on. Weaponry of Stone Age that persisted for millions of years were basically the same as used for hunting by human species for their need of food and safety from wild animals. Such weapons were arrows, bows, bones, sling, etc., which were made out of bones, wood, animal hide, and stones. With the advent of metals in Bronze and Iron Ages, the nature of weaponry changed to swords, spears, hammers, etc., but they still retained bows and arrows as the long-range weapons with updated sharp metallic tips. In the Medieval Age up to seventeenth century, the same type of weaponry was dominated by iron as the main source. Afterwards, since the onset of industrial revolution, the invention of firearms and explosives changed the scenarios of weaponries, leading to the extension of colonial rule of Europeans in other continents of Asia, Africa, and America. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, war theatres extended from ground to sea and air. As a consequence, various weapon platforms such as aircraft, submarines, helicopters, fighter aircraft, short- and long-range missiles, rockets, tanks, and artillery guns were developed and most of them were deployed during World War II. During World War II, the nuclear arsenal was developed and used. In the post–World War era, directed-energy weapons (DEW) were also developed. In the twenty-first century, nanotechnology, along with bio- and information technology, is poised to make drastic changes in the present and futuristic warfare scenarios.


Stone Age Bronze Age Iron Age Industrial Revolution Modern Age Bows and arrows, Sling Sword Spear Hammer Axe Gun powder Rifle Guns, Rockets, Missiles Aircrafts Helicopters Ships and Submarines Nano-, Bio-, and Information technology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Narendra Kumar
    • 1
  • Ambesh Dixit
    • 2
  1. 1.Defence Laboratory Jodhpur (DRDO)JodhpurIndia
  2. 2.Department of Physics & Center for Solar Energy DepartmentIndian Institute of Technology JodhpurJodhpurIndia

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