Some of you have expressed wonder at where I get my info from. Well, early in my career, I spent 15 years at the Watervliet Arsenal, just north of Albany, NY. My father, mother, sister, aunt, grandmother, and grandfather all worked there. My brother in law and nephew still work there. Obviously, there is a lot of family history there. I started there repairing and maintaining CNC, or computer controlled machines. I quickly moved over into research, Applications Engineering for Benet' Research Labs, stationed at Watervliet. I was Googling something today, and happened to come across some You Tube videos of Watervliet. Since they are on You Tube and Googleable, I guess it's safe to show you them. This machine is the pride and joy of Watervliet. I did a lot of work on it over the years, as well as a lot of other machines.
One of the greatest features of Benet' Labs is the close association with a large scale production facility. When an urgent need arises, things can be designed on the fly and closely monitored in fabrication. It was not uncommon to see engineers on the shop floor discussing things with the machinist to make sure it comes out right the first time. This next video is a case in point.
Along the way, I became part of a team responsible for all the technology in any and all tank turrets of US origin in the world. I made the control computer to put the first prototype 120 mm cannon in the M1A1 Abrams tank. This video shows the features and capabilities of the tank as it is integrated into a video game. I played with the real thing!!!
So, yes, it IS military, but it's primary mission is to keep us safe here at home. But, it does go a lot further. GPS was initially a highly secret military technology. Eventually it was opened up to the public, capable of providing your position anywhere on earth to within 75 feet. Now, it is accurate to within 4 feet and can help guide your car down the road. A lot of technology in the tank is now found in your hybrid cars. Electric motor and control technology, guidance technology, subsystem communications technology, the list goes on.
You say "That still doesn't explain the whole picture"... Well, most people spend years in college, learning things other people did, solely to pass the test and get the "Sheep's Skin". I spent years "Hands on in the real world", working with some of the best minds, solely to build it and make it better! Hopefully you enjoyed the videos and have a better understanding of things now.