Like most Army commanders, Lt. General Rick Lynch says that he needed more troops in Iraq, and that they would have saved the lives of men lost under his command. Unlike most commanders though, Lynch isn't demanding flesh and blood soldiers, but steel and rubber robotic infantrymen.
Speaking at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International conference, Lynch said that robot systems already in place could have saved 122 of the 155 men who died during his time in Iraq.
Lynch's concerns hold particular weight, as he has both the combat experience of leading the Army's Third Infantry Division in Iraq, and the academic experience of earning a Master's Degree in robotics from MIT.
Echoing similar statements he made in August, Lynch claims that deploying remotely, or autonomously, navigated ground vehicles could have lowered casualties as a result of IEDs, and that robotic infantry could have replaced humans on dangerous surveillance missions.
Some robot infantry had been deployed to Iraq, specifically the SWORD gun platform, but the Army severely restricted their use over safety concerns.
Lynch went even farther than most in his talk, demanding the implementation of autonomous, armed robot systems. He countered other Army critics, saying that he believed the current level of technology was advanced enough to overcome problems with autonomous robots shooting the wrong people.
"There's a resistance saying that armed ground robots are not ready for the battlefield. I'm not of that camp," Lynch said.
[via Wired's Danger Room]
Thats one awesome piece of machinery!!!
"Im in ur mosque, killin ur d00dz"?
The term "Demonstration model" doesn't ring a bell to you KH?
so thats why it looks like cheap plastic rather than bullet/blast proof steel shielding.
I'm all for saving lives, but I have a concern. If war has no human cost, we might lose the motivation to avoid it.
I am by no means a pacifist, and I did serve in the military. However, I just worry about a future where we can dispatch mechno droids whenever we have a disagreement.
Picture this scenario -
A series heavily armored MULEs goes into the combat zone.
Any heavy fire they draw is responded to by air support from the UAV Raptors overhead.
Once estabilished, the MULEs unload a dozen Swords each. The swords spread out, with full heat and visual arrays, eliminate any target carrying a weapon (the airwave propaganda has alerted the civilians that anyone carrying a weapon is target for liquidation).
The Swords greatest threat is someone running up from hiding and stealing it (for munitions / electronic components, which are worth money). If cover can't be provided by other swords, and exsplosive fail-safe is activated, eliminating both the Sword and the theif.
Meanwhile, helicopter drones are positioning stationary sensor and sniper drones on the roof corners of every major building in town, establishing a city-wide lock-down and enforcing the new curfew.
The only risk to our soldiers is a Red Bull OD while trying to score "bonus points." The only result from the enemy is either total capitulation, or suicide yourself against machines (which are only money, and no enemy can hope to burn American money faster than we already do ourself).
oakspar77777 that was awesome .
Not having Oakspar's blind enthusiasm I tend to question the exact nature of the weaknesses of these systems. Just as my post that I'd kick SWORDs butt with a sword led the P.S. webmaster to copy my sensationalized if simplistic claim that the robot could not defend itself at very close quarters from a determined foe, so his assessment of a hypothetical battle engagement scenario. As many of us Americans know, an enemy rarely cooperates so willingly to our best laid plans. In point of fact, often the planning re the battle is a hindrance, not a help. Contingencies? Yes, and the more the better, but even in today's method of massive buildup leading to an incremental push of the enemy toward a point of our choosing, it has not been attempted against a technologically advanced foe that also has true mass combat capability. Then there are the ever present environmental concerns. Any of these weapon platforms have exploitable weaknesses involving terrain and weather. Our enemies watch our battle tech advances carefully each time we test in the field, learning at a geometric rate just like us. What little there was to be gained in our current conflicts has been gained. We do not need these things in the field showing enemies inherent weakness in our automated systems, as we do not know enough about making them more capable. We are beginning to give our enemies advantages they are more than happy to accept, free of charge. Wanna end the conflict in Afghanistan? Spray a defoliant on the poppy fields that are easily seen from space. The poppy fields are the ones guarded by the guns. Hardly ever anyone around the farm crops.
122 deaths could have been prevented? A lot more than that would be worth it to keep our true capabilities concealed for the next few years. And as hard as it is to read, it was just as hard for me to say, thinking of friends I don't have anymore. The grandstanding general who made the statement knows full well the multitudes of factors that say who lives and who dies in an engagement, but if he doesn't perhaps the general's job could be done by a robot and a few hard colonels and majors, that already make up his staff.
one last truth before I go. ANY electrical circuit, device, or system can and eventually will be compromised. It is only a matter of time before these things are killing our troops wholesale, and they gotta know it. If they can't keep them out of the White House, the Pentagon, or anywhere else, how safe should our troops feel expecting real backup from these things?
I do admit that hideing and hand-2-hand defeats the Sword. That is why they either (A) back each other up, and (B) should have an exsplosive fail safe.
Yes, that means one fighter could wipe out a very exspensive piece of equipment (though less so with mass production). He could do so, however, only at the risk of his own life. I don't see that many fatwah singing zealots willing to blow themselves up to destroy what is mere pennies to the US military.
Remember that the most powerful weapon with unmanned weapon systems (UAVs, UGVs, etc) is the fact thay they are truely fighting a soul-less enemy. There can be no victory there - only the exchange of life for your enemies inconvience.
Suicide bomb ten lives for ten lives, and American cry for their fallen and their families. Suicide bomb 10 million dollars, and we laugh. We give sums like that away for entertainment or to advertise magazine sales. Add 10 cents to every lipstick sold in a year and you have 10 million. You just cannot terrorize a country too far away to shoot who has a mechanical army.
OH, and those poppy fields. Easy to tell where they are - hard to tell who they belong to. Half of them belong to our friends (factions in Afghanistan who support us and who we support in the region).
Oakspar77777 has a good point, there is no victory when fighting a machine that can easily be replaced. But one day I aspire to be a f-22 pilot, and with this jump into UAVs and remote soldiers, 20 years from now that may not be possible. When only machines fight for us we are left vulnerable by EMPs and the occasional hacker to bring us to our knees. Since we are fighting terrorist organizations that is not and issue, but it is only a matter of time before war becomes a game.
this looks cool
why not mount a shotgun on it? seems more lives are lost on room entry then anything else.