December 01, 2004
You Have 10 Seconds to Comply...

For the army that would prefer soldiers without a conscience, Foster-Miller has a solution...

Okay not quite, these are just R/C toys with machine guns and soon rocket launchers, but automation isn't far away.

'The Patriot Missile system fires with no human intervention. It uses an Identification Friend-or-Foe system to track everything in the air, and shoot down anything that shouldn't be there. During the recent Iraq invasion, a glitch in this system caused it to fire upon a British fighter jet, destroying it and killing its pilot. It was about to do the same to a US jet, but that jet was armed with fast-flying radar-seeking missiles designed to take out hostile SAM sites, and was able to take out the radar component of the Patriot system before the missile reached his plane. Notably no one was injured on the ground when he did this, since there was nobody actually sitting in front of the device, or anywhere near it.

I think it'll be a long time before autonomously firing ground systems are in place, because it's hard enough doing IFF in the sky, let alone on the ground. I think the fire-finder system (used in the Balkans to take out mortar positions in the mountains firing upon cities) might do this in some limited capacity, but that's only anti-artillery, rather than telling the difference between a guerilla carrying an RPG and a farmer carrying a section of irrigation pipe. Sure, you could wait until they shoot first for all of these systems, since that's a lot easier to determine automatically, but I think it's quite obvious that waiting for the other guy to shoot first is very far from the policy of the current administration.' [ca1v1n]

...and as to the weaponized specs:

'The weapons these things are carrying are the M249 SAW. They are chambered in the 5.56mm NATO round spec and carry a 200 round box which it feeds from, but it can also use the regular 30 round magazines that the M-16 uses. The gun was developed in the 70s and has been used by the US, UK, and Isreali forces. Although the original ones could accept the M-16 magazines the latest Mk.46 mod.0 version doesn't include this option as to save weight on an already hefty 6.8 kg gun.' [NEOtaku17]

[Army to deploy robots that shoot from /.]

Posted by nym at December 1, 2004 07:28 PM | TrackBack