Rifle toting robots go into battles in Iraq

This robot looks just like the battlebots on TV. A very interesting concept. Potentially the soldier can be sitting in an air conditioned
building in California and be battling insurgents in Iraq remotely.
shell> ssh swords215.army.mil "moveto 62.118/81.776; turn --degrees 12.87; shoot --rounds 13; retreat --dest bridge.madiya"
http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/issues/2007/August/RifleToting.htm
The U.S. Army quietly entered a new era earlier this summer when it sent the first armed ground robots into action in Iraq.
So far, the robot army's entrance into the war has been a trickle rather than an invasion.
Only three of the special weapons observation remote reconnaissance direct action system (SWORDS) have been deployed so far.
The Army has authorized the purchase of 80 more robots -- which are being touted as a potentially life-saving technology -- but acquisition officials have not come forth with the funding.
"As [soldiers] use them and like them, Ive heard positive feedback, they want 20 more immediately. Its a shame we cant get them to them," Michael Zecca, SWORDS program manager, told National Defense.
The three robots, which tote M249 rifles and are remotely controlled by a soldier through a terminal, have been in Iraq since April and are with the 3rd Infantry Division, 3rd Brigade.
After three years of development at the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., the robots were formally approved for combat use in June. Their exact whereabouts and missions are classified, but Zecca could confirm that they have been used in reconnaissance tasks and street patrols.
He did not know of any incidents of the weapon being fired so far.
SWORDS is designed to take on high risk combat missions, according to an Army statement. A specialist controlling the robot could send it into a potentially dangerous situation, such as a narrow street infested with snipers, seek targets and take them out before a foot patrol follows.
Anytime you utilize technology to take a U.S. service member out of harms way, it is worth every penny, said John Saitta, a consultant with Smart Business Advisory and Consulting and a major in the Marine Corps reserves, who has been trained as a weapons and tactic instructor.
These armed robots can be used as a force multiplier to augment an already significant force in the battle space, he added.
The 80 robots approved under an urgent materiel release, a mechanism designed to speed potentially life-saving technologies to the battlefield, are being held up due to limited funding in fiscal years 2006-2007, said Lt. Col. William Wiggins, a spokesman for the office of the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology.
While SWORDS is currently not a program of record, the Army has initiated a memorandum of agreement between ARDEC and Robotic System-Joint Project Office to expedite establishing a funded program to meet Army needs," Wiggins said in a written statement.
Additional details about the SWORDS program and the future of robots in the battlefield will appear in the September 2007 issue of National Defense Magazine.
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    --Bad design and virtually worthless: it's designed to be backpacked, which means it's light and low caliber. Also it's not armoured, so it's easy to pick off. Someone's making a pile of money tho; "follow the money", eh? ;-)
--
"Steamboat Ed" Haas : A steaming pile of
Hacking the Trailing Edge! : obscure information...
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If it draws fire then the troops know there is enemy in the area. Think bait.
Wes
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And if the enemy sees it and holds fire, the troops won't know there is enemy in the area until it's too late.
Think dumb?
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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I have to respectfully disagree with steamer. The robots are valuable, not too easy to disable (compared to people), and have no fear. Plus their "casualties" do not need to be reported to the public.
After a while of development, they could learn to maneuver randomly so that they are very hard to hit and yet keep their weapons and cameras pointed on targets.
I would completely shit my pants if I was facing a "robot charge attack", personally.
i
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On Thu, 16 Aug 2007 14:32:15 -0500, Ignoramus18364 wrote:

So, in other words, the US is deploying terroristic robots? Or would that be robot terrorists?
Isn't that the definition of terrorism - to terrify the enemy?
Thanks, Rich
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Usually it's defined as acts intended to coerce or intimidate a civilian population, rather than to intimidate an opposing military force. Attacks on the morale of a military force are pretty standard military tactics and have been for thousands of years.
-- Ed Huntress
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On Thu, 16 Aug 2007 21:29:59 GMT, Richard The Dreaded Libertarian

Only in your deranged imagination, apparently. The rest of the world seems to understand that terrorists target non-combatants in order to instill fear in same.
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That and to reduce the population's confidence in their government to protect them -- which was never a government's job anyway, but thinking it is has gained so much currency that individual reluctance to self-defend has almost become both normal and encouraged.
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Not exactly. Terrorist acts are meant to force the government to apply repressive and unpopular countermeasures. If these prove effective the 'useful idiots' (as the KGB called them) loudly protest that they weren't needed.
jw
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    --You've got a point; still you could do that with a toy from Radio Shack and probably get the same effect, heh.
--
"Steamboat Ed" Haas : A steaming pile of
Hacking the Trailing Edge! : obscure information...
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Wes wrote:

But that was MY job!
I've been outsourced - to a robot?!?!?
Golly....
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Mine, too, sitting outside the gate with a camera so I could photograph the license plate when the two MPs chased the terrorists away with their 45's. I much prefer staying home and building camera- toting robots.
jw
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Walked point a lot, eh?

For my money, the robot can have the job!

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John Husvar wrote:

Nah, that would take bigger balls than I ever had.
Crew chief / gunner on Scout helicopters. First Squadron - 9th Cav 1st Cav - 1968 - 1969
ie: Bait...
Pretty good at it too!

Hmmm, come to think of it, you may have reasonable a point there!?!

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On Fri, 17 Aug 2007 10:12:26 -0500, cavelamb himself

That took BIG balls...
My respects
Gunner
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Gunner wrote:

Nah. Just young and dumb. I guess it's a question of what you are commfortable with. I loved to fly (and hey, we could retreat at 150 mph! Sometimes.)
I'm convinced I would not have survived on the ground. Too young and foolish for my age.
It's hard to describe the experience, Gunner.
Best I've ever come up with is like an old west high noon shoot out - with machine guns. We come hovering down main street while the bad guys set up an ambush.
Very sudden (quick draw), very close range, and over in a few seconds.
At least the ones you win.
The others seemed to take quite a bit longer.
I'll be 60 in a couple of years (Lord willing and the prostate don't rise)
Sometimes it just doesn't seem possible that it all really happened...
But it did.
Richard
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On Fri, 17 Aug 2007 11:48:58 -0500, cavelamb himself

Every time I get into a rotarywing aircraft, even to this day..I have this overwhelming urge to sit on my hat...
Been there, done that..but only going from point a to point b. At point b...I got out and walked. Long picnics in the woods. Met intersting people.
Gunner
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Gunner wrote:

I don't (won't?) get in one of those things anymore. Haven't done that even once in the last 38 years. I'm not that young and dumb any more!

"It was the best of times, it as the worst of times".
Hell of a summer vacation!

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cavelamb himself wrote:

My dad stayed out of Korea due to his close relationship with Hiller Helicopters, and work he was doing in the Army on just how far parts could be run before needing replacement. His favorite description of helicopters is "10,000 parts, all trying to get away from each other".
Dad's a fixed wing guy with a fondness for radials.
Jon
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