The U.S. military spent over $80 billion in research and development in 2017. Though much of this funding tends to go to weapons programs, a great deal of military R&D often ends up also having civilian applications.
Military programs that work on new technology, materials, or gadgets have over the years contributed to the development of several consumer end products, materials used in consumer applications, medical devices, and much more.
In fact, some of the most widely used commercial products today were originally developed for the purpose of defending the country, or were a byproduct of military research. 24/7 Wall St. identified 15 commercial products that are direct result of military research.
The United States is the world’s largest economy and it spends by far the most on its military. This includes large investments in R&D, whether through the military’s own research agencies or through contracts with private companies — known as the military-industrial complex. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which was involved in major innovations such as the internet, is behind two products on this list: GPS and the Aspen Movie Map, a precursor to Google’s Street View.