Thursday, August 02, 2007

Robotic infantry units coming to an Iraq near you

The Special Weapons Observation Remote Reconnaissance Direct Action System" (SWORDS) robots have recently been deployed to Iraq. These remote controlled robots are armed with M249 machine guns, but can also be armed with any standard issue weapon that an American infantry soldier might utilize, such as anti-tank weapons and grenade launchers. (The video above gives an excellent 9 min. overview.)

The ability of a wealthy, technologically advanced nation like the US to field robotic infantry units is the next logical step from what has already been occurring with Air Force ordinance.

There will inevitably come a nasty transition point where one nation fields robotic infantry units while another must field human infantry units. It seems to me that the immediate response would be the quick deployment by the less technologically advancd nation of some form of constrained radius EMP device, such as a pulse bomb, focused wave generator, or even pulse mortar. I suspect knocking out the circuits of such a robot (or collection of robots) would not be difficult, if the much hang-wringing over the complexity of shielding avionics in the 1980s from nuclear blasts is any indication.


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At 2:04 AM, Anonymous w0lph said...

I believe this is called "asymmetrical warfare": one nation deploys advanced war systems and another nation (with less money) deploys only humans. The tatic for this lesser-funded nation is not to pit strength against strength, but strength against weakness. Such a smaller nation would rely on the bigger nations inability to conduct domestic military and intelligence gathering operations. Like roaches, said smaller nation would slip in the backdoor and there conduct their war.

However, it is not the promise of an ever-increasing mechanized military (which for one, I support) that is key to "tactical policy" abroad, but how we (the American leviathan) employ this resource: if we cannot seal our own boarders, then it does not matter at all what kinds of weapons systems we use.

Additionally, the use of robots to do the killing is a good measure to be sure, but the consequence is the distribution of such tech to the enemies that we are using it on, which looks alot like the theory of M.A.D.: how do we implement controls to secure our intellectual property so that it does not fall into the wrong hands?

At 12:59 PM, Blogger brinticus said...

w0lph, that was a most thoughtful response. Thank you for taking the time to make it. I have nothing to add, since I pretty much agree with all you've written here. I hope you'll feel free to write again in the future.


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