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Artist rendering of the X-47B in combat  (Source: Northrop Grumman)

  (Source: Northrop Grumman)

  (Source: Northrop Grumman)
Northtrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy will fly the X-47B in late 2009

The U.S. military is furthering its funding of unmanned vehicles for combat. Just last week, DailyTech reported on the U.S. Army's new SWORDS unmanned robots which roam the Iraqi battlefield carrying M249 machines guns -- and in turn put human soldiers out of harm's way. The military's latest unmanned project leaves the desert behind in order to take to the skies.

The U.S. Navy on Friday awarded Northrop Grumman a six-year, $635.8 million USD contract to further develop the X-47B fixed-wing unmanned air system (UAS). The funding for the Unmanned Combat Air System Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) program will allow Northrop Grumman to conduct take-offs and landings from the U.S. Navy's nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.

"We are proud of our legacy of innovation and creativity in developing new combat capabilities and are pleased to be selected to lead this revolutionary advancement in unmanned systems capabilities," said Northrop Grumman's Scott Seymour.

"The UCAS-D award is the culmination of several years of effort with the Navy to show the benefit of melding the capabilities of a survivable, persistent, long-range UCAS with those of the aircraft carrier," continued Northrop Grumman's Gary Ervin. "The UCAS-D program will reduce the risk of eventual integration of unmanned air systems into carrier environments."

Northrop Grumman will build two X47-B aircraft for the U.S. Navy -- the first of which will take flight during the closing months of 2009. The company expects to begin the first carrier landings in 2011.

The X-47B, a sister-ship to the X-47A, has a cruising altitude of 40,000+ feet and a combat radius of 1,500 nautical miles. The stealthy vehicle can carry an internal payload of 4,500 pounds and can travel at high subsonic speeds.



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Love em
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 8/6/2007 11:19:09 AM , Rating: 5
I was watching Future Weapons for the past few weeks and these bad boys are on there every night.

Just think, remove the human pilot and aircraft can make 10G turns, and accelerate or make maneuvers that would normally render a human unconcious or kill him.

Ah, the days are coming when we can finally deploy as many aircraft as we can build, we will no longer be hindered by how quickly we can train pilots, we can now quite literally "build" an air force, and perhaps someday an army as well.

I am pleased to see these unmanned aircraft and vehicles supplementing our forces, it allows a force multiplier on the cheap, and it's more politically popular. American's die less, bad guys die more..... yeap, that works well in the minds of the American public.




RE: Love em
By rtrski on 8/6/2007 11:31:20 AM , Rating: 2
Well, we still need to train operators. But as you say, the force multiplication factor still applies. Presumably with good software a single 'remote pilot' can control an entire small squadron of aircraft on a given mission, assuming limited autonomy for things like collision-avoidance and self-defense (countermeasures) on the part of the aircraft itself.

I just hope the SW gets vetted pretty well. Remember recently some F-22's that were manned and the first ones flying across the international date line all got their power shut down by some sort of time synch related SW bug?


RE: Love em
By kextyn on 8/6/2007 1:20:55 PM , Rating: 3
The glitch wasn't time related. They use zulu time I believe. It was actually the GPS coordinates.

"A group of F-22s heading across the Pacific for exercises in Japan earlier this month suffered simultaneous total nav-console crashes as their longitude shifted from 180 degrees West to 180 East."


RE: Love em
By CSMR on 8/6/2007 2:05:47 PM , Rating: 3
Operators are cheap; planes are expensive. Unless the operators are in the air that is; then they are expensive.


RE: Love em
By bkm32 on 8/16/2007 10:08:45 AM , Rating: 2
The Terminator Trilogy, iRobot, The Matrix Trilogy. Hello!!

When will we learn that the only way to end human losses fighting wars is to STOP FIGHTING WARS! We think we are so clever finding new and interesting ways to kill each other, dont' we?

At any rate, if the apololyptic futures painted in the above movies (excluding iRobot) is any indication, we'll eventually band together to kill machines instead of each other.

I'm a Bible beliver, and as such I don't actually believe in a robot takeover of Mankind. BTW, this last statement is not a "flame".


RE: Love em
By FITCamaro on 8/6/2007 11:31:28 AM , Rating: 5
We'll still need pilots. We won't be putting weapons in the control of machines for a while. Human pilots will likely still control fighter type aircraft and operate the weapons. A human pilot will always be better than a machine. A remote interface will let the pilot execute said high-G maneuvers and still remain in control of the weaponry.

What this will let us do is not loose any pilots in the future. So we won't have to be worried about battlefield losses. Which yes, the American public will approve of.

While I don't like seeing our troops die, right now its a part of combat. You shouldn't sign up if you aren't prepared for it, even in peace time. And simply sitting in our own country waiting for the attack to come so we don't loose anyone overseas doesn't work.

Really considering the amount of time we've been in Iraq, our casualty rate is extremely low. It doesn't make any of those deaths easier for the families to deal with. But as military operations go, our casualty rate is stellar considering how hostile the environment is and the length of time we've been there.


RE: Love em
By marvdmartian on 8/6/2007 11:39:53 AM , Rating: 4
That's true. But now, instead of our pilots being "Top Gun" types, with perfect eyesight and looks like Tom Cruise's, we can get the dweebs that live in their parent's basements, and have mastered video games, to pilot these bombers. Imagine remote guided fighters, and some uber-geek being able to brag the the hot chicks he meets, that he's an ACE!! ;)

One question I have.......if these are unmanned, why does the artist portray them as still having a cockpit-shaped area & windshield (that, even though blacked out, still is a windsheild shaped piece)???? Wouldn't the aircraft be more stealthy without the cockpit bulge??


RE: Love em
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 8/6/2007 11:44:05 AM , Rating: 2
The electronics packages are housed there, its the best place to put them and makes design easier as they already know the flight dynamics of a fuselage with a cockpit.


RE: Love em
By helios220 on 8/6/2007 11:53:21 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
One question I have.......if these are unmanned, why does the artist portray them as still having a cockpit-shaped area & windshield (that, even though blacked out, still is a windsheild shaped piece)???? Wouldn't the aircraft be more stealthy without the cockpit bulge??


That is not a blacked out window, that is the air intake for the propulsion system.

quote:
The electronics packages are housed there, its the best place to put them and makes design easier as they already know the flight dynamics of a fuselage with a cockpit.


It is true that that the aerodynamic tendencies for traditional manned aircraft are better known and this has some influence over the design, however that characterization is over simplified. Alas, the details are proprietary but not a bad guess.


RE: Love em
By stromgald on 8/6/2007 12:19:28 PM , Rating: 4
Actually, that's not a cockpit area or a windshield. It's an air intake. There are better images on Boeing and Northrop Grumman's website. Most UCAV designs are similar to the B-2's flying wing design for better stealth, so that's what the flight dynamics are probably based on.

Electronics for these things are still generally held in the nose of the aircraft to my knowledge because that's usually the best place to hold radar and avionics. With the engines near the rear, and bombs near the middle, you need something to 'balance' the aircraft. However, I wouldn't be surprised if radio antennas and some other electronics are spread throughout the aircraft.


RE: Love em
By twajetmech on 8/7/2007 12:48:32 AM , Rating: 2
That's the inlet for the engine, not a cockpit


RE: Love em
By Merry on 8/6/2007 11:32:02 AM , Rating: 1
But surely unmanned fighting machines only serve to make war 'cheap' and more justifiable. It makes me kind of uneasy to think that nations could have a war over a trivial matters because not many people will die.

Bit of a moral dilemma going on there is you ask me.


RE: Love em
By masher2 (blog) on 8/6/2007 11:39:36 AM , Rating: 3
> "It makes me kind of uneasy to think that nations could have a war over a trivial matters because not many people will die"

Isn't minimizing deaths during warfare a good thing? If two nations have a war, and the only result is a lot of machinery winds up destroyed, isn't that better than 250,000 dead troops? Or worse, a few nuked cities?

Autonomous warfare is, like all technological advances, a mixed bag. But by and large, I think its going to be much more positive than negative.


RE: Love em
By Bonrock on 8/6/2007 12:16:30 PM , Rating: 2
It's worth noting that your logic is only valid if both sides have robots and unmanned aircraft at their disposal. If only one nation has the robotic combat technology at their disposal, that nation could become far more likely to start wars--after all, none of their human soldiers would be in harm's way.

Since this is the more likely scenario--I don't see any other countries besides the U.S. who have this kind of technology available right now--robotic warfare will probably result in many more deaths due to wars that otherwise would not have been fought. This will hold true for at least the next 15-20 years until other countries catch up with American technology.


RE: Love em
By masher2 (blog) on 8/6/2007 12:53:04 PM , Rating: 5
> "If only one nation has the robotic combat technology at their disposal, that nation could become far more likely to start wars--after all, none of their human soldiers would be in harm's way"

True only if one assumes that nation is wholly unconcerned with collateral damage to the other side. That certainly doesn't fit the description of the US, which has always bent over backwards to minimize In fact, a nation wholly unconcerned with enemy casualties will most likely not break stride over losing a few tens of thousands of their own troops.

Also, while autonomous warfare lowers the human toll, it generally increases the financial costs of war. Human life is cheap-- mult-million dollar autons are not. Given the current degree of concern over the dollar costs of the Iraq war, I think the conclusion that future engagements would be more likely runs counter to logic.

We've been seeing this same trend already since WW2. Wars cost more to fight, but kill less people per dollar spent. That means the "people back home" suffer a larger hit in their pocketbook, whether they're actually slugging it on the front lines. All in all, I think that makes war less likely, not more.


RE: Love em
By drank12quartsstrohsbeer on 8/6/2007 1:12:51 PM , Rating: 5
"The wars of the future will not be fought on the battlefield or at sea. They will be fought in space, or possibly on top of a very tall mountain. In either case, most of the actual fighting will be done by small robots. And as you go forth today remember always your duty is clear: To build and maintain those robots."


RE: Love em
By bespoke on 8/6/2007 1:00:03 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Part of the reason the Iraqi army losses in Gulf Way I & II were thousands of times higher than ours was due to our technology being one to two generations ahead of theirs (of course, the severe mismanagement of the Iraqi military and the complete lack of morale were even more deadly, but I digress). This will allow us to be even more callous in our choices of who to fight and when.

BTW, the UK, Germany and perhaps France aren't too far behind the US in UCAV technology.


RE: Love em
By FITCamaro on 8/6/2007 1:10:34 PM , Rating: 4
Yes but that doesn't mean we're going to just start attacking anyone and everyone who's technology doesn't match our own.

Look at the good side. And also make note that while we inflicted far more casualties on their military than they on our own, we also minimized civilian casualties through the use of our technology. Instead of blanket bombing an area like in WW2, we used cruise missiles worth a million bucks each to take out a single building.


RE: Love em
By SirLucius on 8/6/2007 1:07:51 PM , Rating: 2
I tend to agree with masher. Just look at how many times we've been asked to put more money into the Iraq war, and look at the response from people. As much as people don't like the loss of human life, I'd say the loss of cash is a greater incentive not to go to war.

Plus, correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't having more robotics in warfare lower the number of casualties? It seems like having computers do all the hard work in terms of targeting would yeild more accurate results when targeting facilities and leave less opportunity for casualties. Again, I'm just guessing. I have no idea how much of piloting is left up to the actual pilot now.


RE: Love em
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 8/6/2007 8:50:06 PM , Rating: 2
A great philosopher, I believe it was Thomas Hobbes or maybe Machiavelli, stated once that people will hate you if you kill their next of kin, but that people will abhor you if you make them live the rest of their lives in poverty.


RE: Love em
By Scorpion on 8/6/2007 3:56:14 PM , Rating: 2
I absolutely disagree with you. If you take the loss of life out of one side of the equation then you remove the very thing that gives you a reason to try to avoid wars. I agree with the person who posted before you. The further idea of removing men from war actually makes me uneasy.

The only deterent from war is the consequences and suffering that is a result of it. This is absolutely why Bush and the military guys want to keep dead soldiers out of the news, and why the media is censored from showing the horrors of war. This has been a slow moving agenda since Vietnam and with every conflict the censorship becomes more and more. This is precisely why extreme conservatives have been so angry since the Vietnam war. They blame it on the "liberals", but that is such a false accusation. It is the fault of exposing raw war for what it really is, horrible.

If you remove this personal cause-effect from conflicts, then it will become increasingly easier to wield these weapons as a way of asserting control over people and nations. Of course I don't expect anyone to even give pause to that idea. I'm sure there are many people who absolutely relish the idea of forcing their ideas upon others by the tip of a sword, the barrel of a gun, or the detonator in a nuclear warhead. That also happens to be the most anti-American ideology anyone can have.

Wars will inevitably always be fought, but war should always be a terrible thing with terrible consequences for there to be a deterrent from it.


RE: Love em
By masher2 (blog) on 8/6/2007 4:19:03 PM , Rating: 4
> "The only deterent from war is the consequences and suffering that is a result of it."

So you're saying a country won't mind losing perhaps a few trillion dollars, along with the possibility of loss of territory or actual invasion by enemy forces-- not to mention indirect effects like trade sanctions or diplomatic repercussions from other nations-- just as long as "no one dies"? Come again?

The real world doesn't work like this. Nations have NEVER minded losing young men to wars. They always care about the expense, however. And wars are getting just too expensive to fight.

Look at the US Civil War, in which some 3% of the total population of the country died. Now compare it to the outcry against the Iraq War, in which only 0.0005% of the population has been killed....and yet daily stories innudate us with the financial costs of the war effort. If the Iraq war had killed only a tenth the soldiers, but cost us ten times as much, the public would have pulled the plug long ago.



RE: Love em
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 8/6/2007 4:34:44 PM , Rating: 2
I think you need to return to planet Reality.

quote:
The only deterent from war is the consequences and suffering that is a result of it. This is absolutely why Bush and the military guys want to keep dead soldiers out of the news, and why the media is censored from showing the horrors of war.

Yea, no. Respect for the dead is why the media doesn't show body parts on the news, but hey if your into that sort of thing check out Al-Jazzeera, they show it when they can.

quote:
This has been a slow moving agenda since Vietnam and with every conflict the censorship becomes more and more. This is precisely why extreme conservatives have been so angry since the Vietnam war. They blame it on the "liberals", but that is such a false accusation. It is the fault of exposing raw war for what it really is, horrible.

Vietnam? Anyone that would like to equate Iraq to Vietnam can leave the country now and not look back, thanks. But since you brought it up let me educate you on some simple numbers. Let's break it down in chronological order for you too, keep it simple.

World War I Injured - 204,002
World War I Killed - 116,516

World War II Injured - 670,846
World War II Killed - 405,399

Korean War Injured - 103,284
Korean War Killed - 36,516

Vietnam War Injured - 153,303
Vietnam War Killed - 58,209

Iraq War Injured - 25,830
Iraq War Killed - 3,571

Yes, now I would like you to understand two important things. One, you live under a rock. Time to come out and recognize that the casualty rate in Iraq is minimal VERY minimal. Two, We will not be leaving Iraq anytime in the next 50 years so you can get off that train too. Notice we STILL have bases in Europe from the cold war era? Yea, those will be there for a long time to come. Bases will remain in Iraq, Afganistan and other middle eastern countries for a long time to come as well. This is what we call "Power Projection".

quote:
If you remove this personal cause-effect from conflicts, then it will become increasingly easier to wield these weapons as a way of asserting control over people and nations. Of course I don't expect anyone to even give pause to that idea. I'm sure there are many people who absolutely relish the idea of forcing their ideas upon others by the tip of a sword, the barrel of a gun, or the detonator in a nuclear warhead. That also happens to be the most anti-American ideology anyone can have.

You better check your facts man. We have gone to war for our ideals time and time again. We kicked the British out and formed the United States because we wanted it our way and were sick of being subjected to their ways and their laws. We damn near wiped out the Native Americans because we wanted our land and we wanted it our way. We go to war to protect our ideals, to preserve them from threats, and to protect our allys and what we percieve to be a free world. This is the nature of americans, we are winners, and we like winners, we hate losers and we hate people that try to tell us what to do. To be american is all of the above, accept this. Americans are peaceful to an extent, but we also have global power projection and the way we got that is not just because of military capability, but because we have the balls to actually put it to use. Peace is fine, but if someone decides to flip you the bird and start shooting, Americans are keen to shoot back and eliminate the enemy. This causes countries to recognize the military superiority of the U.S. This in turn causes them to listen and take what we say seriously. Could Fidel Castro tomorrow tell France that they are going to straighten up and fly right or else? Nope, France would laugh at them.
I rest my case.

quote:
Wars will inevitably always be fought, but war should always be a terrible thing with terrible consequences for there to be a deterrent from it.

War has consequences, it costs a lot of money to run a war these days. If you think we can declare war on anyone we want just because lives arent being lost, your dead wrong. War's cost money and lots of it, if we don't have it, we can't make war. The financials will keep war's in check.


RE: Love em
By GeeSussFreeK on 8/7/2007 9:33:59 AM , Rating: 2
Right on man! If you were in Austin, I would buy you a beer!


RE: Love em
By Scorpion on 8/7/2007 5:40:33 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, I'm speechless. Both you and masher2 have got your heads up your arses.

quote:
Yea, no. Respect for the dead is why the media doesn't show body parts on the news

Keep telling yourself that. That may be one factor, but you're blind to believe that is the whole reason. We have no problems showing the dead from the people we kill, so try again. The only proof I need is from my Father-in-law who is one of this nations top 1st Amendment attorneys who is currently involved in a case being appealed to the Supreme Court over a very respectful photograph of a US soldiers funeral. Guess who's backing the side of censorship and frivolous resitution compensation?

quote:
Vietnam? Anyone that would like to equate Iraq to Vietnam can leave the country now and not look back, thanks.

Oh thanks for the redneck America threat. "You're either with us or against us." You people haven't even a f*cking clue what America stands for. Perhaps it is you who should leave the country. Seig Heil!

quote:
Yes, now I would like you to understand two important things. One, you live under a rock. Time to come out and recognize that the casualty rate in Iraq is minimal VERY minimal. Two, We will not be leaving Iraq anytime in the next 50 years so you can get off that train too. Notice we STILL have bases in Europe from the cold war era? Yea, those will be there for a long time to come. Bases will remain in Iraq, Afganistan and other middle eastern countries for a long time to come as well. This is what we call "Power Projection".


Thanks for arguing a point I never even made. Were you paying attention to what I read? No. What did you see then? "Blah Blah some guy who hates america Blah Blah"? Obviously you've got your blind patriot filters on and you need to take them off. I never even talked about this. Thanks for playing.

quote:
You better check your facts man. We have gone to war for our ideals time and time again. We kicked the British out and formed the United States because we wanted it our way and were sick of being subjected to their ways and their laws. We damn near wiped out the Native Americans because we wanted our land and we wanted it our way. We go to war to protect our ideals, to preserve them from threats, and to protect our allys and what we percieve to be a free world.


Again, you are arguing with me another point which I did not even touch, but now I will address this one. I know my facts, man. Yes America fought for freedom, fought for a democracy and for secularism. Nevermind what poison you hear spewed from the pulpit about our founding fathers. Most of them were very staunch secularists and that was one of the most motivating forces behind the movement to America, to escape the hard religious rule of the Church of England and other similar church-state governed nations around the world.

What about wiping out Native Americans? Are you serious? I have roots to Native Americans. I am part Native American. Pick up a history book. Do you still believe that what early Americans did to the Natives was justified? I ask you who taught you history then because they taught you ignorant lies and propaganda. Who was it that the first early settlers looked to to survive in this new world? Who's land? Oh "our land". It's not YOUR land if someone else is already there. Alas this only demonstrate an early onset of the American imperialistic nature. This is something we must grow beyond.

America should go to war to protect it's ideals only when they are threatened. This isn't even something I brought up, by why are we in Iraq? You are an idiot (or a neocon) to believe that such actions will protect our ideals. Only the corruption of our ideals can be met by this means. You obviously have no understanding of what American ideals are, and neither does a large portion of our population unfortunately. Pulpits and corruptionists have been teaching false history to too many people. America is democracy and freedom and secularism, as was the vision of our founding fathers. This is not Jerry Fallwell's America.


RE: Love em
By Scorpion on 8/7/2007 5:41:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
This is the nature of americans, we are winners, and we like winners, we hate losers and we hate people that try to tell us what to do. To be american is all of the above, accept this. Americans are peaceful to an extent, but we also have global power projection and the way we got that is not just because of military capability, but because we have the balls to actually put it to use. Peace is fine, but if someone decides to flip you the bird and start shooting, Americans are keen to shoot back and eliminate the enemy.


Keep pumping your Rah-Rah-Rah Uhmerican fist to that one. That entire sentence is just ridiculous and riddled with insecurities. So you think we should be the playground enemy? Obviously you need to grow up. Pick up Sun-Tzu's Art of War sometime. It is not in our best interest to viciously attack anyone who "flips us the bird". That is not American ideals. Not the ideals of democracy or freedom. You cannot spread these ideals through the barrel of a gun when will you imbeciles realize this. The only thing a gun barrel does is weaken the other side to persuasion to spread our ideals through other means. The whole idea of this is counter intuitive to democratic and freedom principles.

quote:
War has consequences, it costs a lot of money to run a war these days. If you think we can declare war on anyone we want just because lives arent being lost, your dead wrong. War's cost money and lots of it, if we don't have it, we can't make war. The financials will keep war's in check.


Both you and masher2 keep raising this point, and I think you are dead wrong. Wars will always cost more, and we will always have more money in the world to fund them. This Iraq war is costing us heavily, but is that a problem? Why no we just borrow the money we need to fund it, or we just make it up somehow. You all have been seduced by the value of money it is ridiculous. Most of the money we spend on wars goes back to us anyhow! That may not be the case much longer as we continue to become less and less of a manufacturing country with less of our own resources. Then we become so dependant on other countries for the material we need. Do you not see a problem with that? Why do you think we have a double standard with China? It's not called the "War Machine" for nothing.

You are quite fooled to believe that the cost will be a deterent. The only thing both of you are saying is that money is worth more than a human life and I believe you are dead wrong. People are complacent to be screwed out of money by our government more and more they will become numb to losing it. So much of our "screwed out of money" goes into our bloated military funding (notice how I neglected using the term "defence funding"). This only benefits a nation only relying on monetary sacrifices for wars. I guarantee that a lost loved one is felt so much more than having less money. And that right there is the heart of the point that I was making in my previous post.

I am completely astonished that DailyTech somehow finds the both of you worthy of your status here. Neither of you, especially masher2 is capable of "reporting" or regurgitating agregated information without bias. DailyTech should have more sense than to give either of you too much credibility. And it's far more troubling to see how neither of you "gets it". This is what America is becoming I suppose. I'll leave you with some parting quotes.

quote:
Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so, whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such a purpose -- and you allow him to make war at pleasure. If today, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada, to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, 'I see no probability of the British invading us' but he will say to you, 'Be silent; I see it, if you don't.'" - Abraham Lincoln


quote:
A country cannot simultaneously prepare and prevent war. - Albert Einstein


I hardly doubt a single person reads this lengthy diatribe, but I enjoyed writing it so very much.


RE: Love em
By Ringold on 8/6/2007 4:51:38 PM , Rating: 2
If we don't capitalize on the technology out of a weak moral belly there is no doubt China, Russia, Iran and everybody else eventually will as they are able to afford to. They would then have the advantage.

On the liberal/conservative thing.. if censorship was meant, as it was implied, to keep the people fat, dumb and happy, along with recruitment rates high by sheltering them from the "horrible" wars, then to test the thesis that it matters we could look at re-enlistment rates; people who have gone to Iraq, Afghanistan or other overseas deployments, come back, and decided to sign up yet again. And what does such an analysis show? Re-enlistment rates have been amazing.

Not to say war isn't nasty, it is, but I think it underlines the futility of trying to let that debate enter in to a judgement of the merit of this technology, the liberal/conservative debate. On a technical basis, these things pwn, so that's probably all we should be concerned with at the moment.


RE: Love em
By h0kiez on 8/6/2007 11:32:17 AM , Rating: 2
Well...you'll still need skilled pilots to fly them, they'll just be doing it remotely. It definitely does open up new posibilities though.


RE: Love em
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 8/6/2007 11:40:38 AM , Rating: 3
Indeed. Case in point is that these bad boys would be autonomous and not controlled by a human pilot. These things fly and fire on their own, think cruise missile but instead of impacting the target its just a delivery system. An AWACS in the area would be picking targets using the Predator drones and Global Hawk UAV's, then issuing targets and approach vector's to these unmanned bombers that would be lumbering around on station ready to blow something to bits at a moment's notice. Now I also have to note that the new F-22 also posesses the same target picking capability the AWACS does, and can relay it to friendly craft like said Unmanned Bombers. Letting the F-22's patrol the skies looking for enemy aircraft and then issuing attack orders to their large squadron of unmanned bombers in the area who are carrying the heavy ground pounder ordnance.

Ah, good times indeed.


RE: Love em
By helios220 on 8/6/2007 11:46:28 AM , Rating: 2
While the costs associated with pilot training are significant and by no means to be ignored, the bigger issue with modern military aircraft has been the cost of new aircraft development.

While all rules have exceptions, the general trend for decades has been that each new generation of military aircraft has been more expensive and hence made in fewer numbers than the previous generation. A perfect example being the F-22, undoubtedly superior to any unmanned platform and rated as the top air superiority fighter in the world. Yet all of these capabilities come at a tremendous cost and F-22 orders have been continuously cut by the Air Force to a mere shadow of the original proposed production numbers. The current development of autonomous vehicles is driven by the primary motivator of cost, not performance.

This is not to say that I have anything against the UCAS or unmanned platforms in general, as a former Northrop Grumman employee who worked on the program I have great respect for the platform. However, you will not be seeing the X-47 pulling excessive G's or wowing anyone with its performance characteristics, like all current UCAV offerings it is meant to be a strike aircraft and not an air-superiority fighter. While the X-47B does look sleek and impressive, the reality is that the current generation of UCAV's are designed to fly relatively simple loitering flight plans and put bombs on target, not engage other aircraft in complex autonomous dog fights.

Also addressing others who have seen the movie 'Stealth' a few too many times, these platforms are not completely autonomous and do not make the decision to strike without a human operator.

It is not my intention by any means to rain on anyone’s parade, however there is generally quite a difference between TV/Movies and reality in regards to these aircraft, but that does not make them any less impressive in my opinion.


RE: Love em
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 8/6/2007 11:55:06 AM , Rating: 3
Ah, but Helios you are missing the point.

Imagine taking your F-22, taking the pilot out, and sticking him behind a joystick. Now, we get our money's worth. The F-22 is capable of much more than it currently does because the pilot is human and there are precautions that must be taken.

Fighter aircraft could also be built smaller, and cheaper without the need for expensive safety systems, ejection systems, blow off canopy systems, all these customizeable displays and buttons and switches, etc.....


RE: Love em
By helios220 on 8/6/2007 12:15:12 PM , Rating: 4
I never made the point to say that machines are not limited by the characteristics of the humans who operate them. There is an entire field (Human Factors Engineering) devoted to this area, and simply removing the pilot from the cockpit by no means alleviates all of these problems. While there would be a weight reduction by removing certain pilot-centric aircraft subsystems, other different subsystems to accommodate remote / autonomous operation would be added in their place (for now). Furthermore, if you make the argument that an Air Superiority fighter could be more effectively flown remotely, I would not want to be the engineer / human factors engineer responsible for designing the HMIs (human machine interfaces.) It would be a very complex task (although possible) to provide a remote-pilot the necessary perception and feedback to adequately perform air superiority missions, which is a whole different style of flying than strike missions.

Regardless of whether you think I am missing the point, I have worked for Aerospace defense contractors my whole career and I have great hopes for the future of unmanned flight, however my only point is that these aircraft are not the magic solution to the dilemma of increased capabilities versus esclating costs. The primary detractor from aircraft performance is not the pilot, it is cost of the platform plain and simple. I have great hopes for the future development of autonomous vehicles, however there is much hard work to be done by engineers and researchers before we can think about replacing pilots completely.


RE: Love em
By pauldovi on 8/6/2007 12:00:02 PM , Rating: 2
I am a pilot... I am in Air Force ROTC in college. I would love to fly... but I think that there will be no need for my kind any more by the time I commission. Ohh well, good thing I will have my BS in Aerospace Engineering.

Poor pilots... :(


RE: Love em
By BladeVenom on 8/6/2007 4:22:51 PM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't give up hopes of being a pilot so soon. Some people said planes and pilots were soon to be obsolete 50 years ago after Sputnik launched.


RE: Love em
By borowki on 8/6/2007 4:12:33 PM , Rating: 3
Dependence on remote controlled aircrafts puts us on the defensive on the get-go, since none of these technical wonder will work if the communication network isn't. China has already shown that it's capable of shooting satellites out of the sky and is experimenting with laser-based anti-sat weapons. While counter-measures are possible, I would hate to see ourselves in a position where we have to invest massive amount of money into defensive systems to maintain our offensive capability.

I'm happy with the current mix of manned aircrafts, cruise missles, and relatively low-tech unmanned planes. Having a UAV that does 10-G turns is pretty pointless when the whole point is that it's dispensable.


RE: Love em
By Calin on 8/7/2007 5:19:05 AM , Rating: 2
A bomber won't make 10G turns (maybe when empty), and a bomber won't make that kind of accrobatics.
As for the planes/pilots rate, I think right now US air force is training more pilots than the aircrafts it is buying, and things won't change very fast when a plane costs a big fortune.


And then SkyNet
By TimberJon on 8/6/2007 11:24:27 AM , Rating: 1
Yea, lets give computers or AI our bombers to play with. Lets leave chance and chaos-thought to machines. Good idea.




RE: And then SkyNet
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 8/6/2007 11:30:48 AM , Rating: 2
Ah not this argument again. The machines do not make decisions on what to attack. We paint the targets and tell them what to kill. The machine just knows how to arm the proper weapon for the job, how to target, where to fire, and how to fly.

Frankly, I am looking forward to this new age of warfare. Stealth, unmanned, lasers, new targeting systems, scramjet's, etc... This new age of warfare is quite impressive.


RE: And then SkyNet
By Scorpion on 8/6/2007 4:02:32 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Frankly, I am looking forward to this new age of warfare. Stealth, unmanned, lasers, new targeting systems, scramjet's, etc... This new age of warfare is quite impressive.

I think you've romanticized too many video games and Schwarzenegger movies and anime films. Image you're the nation who doesn't have the wealth or resources to produce these kinds of arms and tell me how much you look forward to it.


RE: And then SkyNet
By masher2 (blog) on 8/6/2007 4:29:54 PM , Rating: 3
> "Image you're the nation who doesn't have the wealth or resources to produce these kinds of arms and tell me how much you look forward to it."

We don't have to imagine-- we just have to look back to history, back to the period in which warfare didn't rely upon high-tech weaponry. It certainly didn't stop people from fighting. In fact, war was far more common then than it is today. And far more destructive as well, with entire villages (and sometimes even entire civilizations) being routinely decimated.

Today, all but a tiny fraction of the population will go their entire lives without coming face to face with war. Even those that do will generally not be exposed to the rape, murder, and pillage common in centuries past. 99.95% of the civilian world will see war only on TV. For those few civilians who do, it generally means power outages and temporary housing. It no longer means the family's possesions stolen, Dad murdered, Mom and 12 year Sally raped repeatedly, and 8 year old Johnnie trotted off in chains to be sold into a life of slavery.

I'd call that a huge improvement. What about you?


RE: And then SkyNet
By mdogs444 on 8/6/2007 11:32:02 AM , Rating: 2
There is no true AI, and our people actually control the movements.

Maybe you've seen iRobot or something too many times.


RE: And then SkyNet
By FITCamaro on 8/6/2007 11:38:55 AM , Rating: 2
True AI is possible. It just requires such a large machine today that its impractical for anything other than research into AI.

We're still probably decades away from the technology and software of having a real artificial intelligence being able to fit into something the size of a fighter much less a humanoid robot. Even if we did solve the problem of the processing power and software, we'd still have the power source issue to solve. We're not going to have nuclear powered robots walking around.


RE: And then SkyNet
By bldckstark on 8/6/2007 1:25:41 PM , Rating: 2
How about a link to back up this claim?

I am aware of nothing above the insect level of AI that actually works as intended, let alone human.


RE: And then SkyNet
By FITCamaro on 8/6/2007 2:47:34 PM , Rating: 2
They've gotten AI up to the level of an infant. The issue though is programming efficiency, speed of the computers, and storage space.

If you think about it, what exactly is our ability to make decisions? It's what we've learned. We've learned as we've grown that certain things do and don't work. From those experiences we try new things and see if those work. Why should a computer be any different? The brain is nothing more than an organic computer capable of extremely fast processing and near infinite data storage. The only issue is how well do we remember everything.

Sorry I'm having trouble finding a link to the example I'm thinking of. But just because we haven't mastered it yet, don't think it isn't possible. All it takes is time, ingenuity, money, and creativity. I think in the next 50 years, as computer grow more powerful and ever smaller, we'll see the birth of a computerized brain. Maybe not as smart as us, but able to make decisions based on what its experienced.

I believe the experiment I'm referring to was called HAL though. I have a book on robots back home. But I'm not there. Otherwise I could look for it.


RE: And then SkyNet
By Scorpion on 8/6/2007 4:23:21 PM , Rating: 2
Boy you sure got it figured out. Too bad you haven't a clue what you're talking about. Do you know how to program such AI? Simple AI? Ever heard of a little thing called "Bayes Theorem", "Artificial Neural Networks", "Bayes Decision rule"? These are all very simple probabilistic tools which often used on only the simplest events, but first you have to build models for them. I haven't even scraped the surface on information theoretic research, but it is far more complex then you seem think it is. These models occur billions of times in parallel all the time in our brains. To model something like that would take such tremendous resources and time, and that's only after we understand the models better than we already do. See also "Turing Machine".

I see too many people here too swayed by science fiction rather than science fact. Do you have any proof to your claim of "infant like" AI capabilities? Do you understand the cognitive abilities of infants? Do you know that infants are not capable of understanding that when something disappears from view that it has not disappeared from existence? That you can repeatedly show them something and take it away and they will still cry every time it is hidden. And that's only a small example. That is so very very far from the cognitive abilities of a full grown adult.


RE: And then SkyNet
By Ringold on 8/6/2007 5:26:55 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know about any of this myself, but I can draw some conclusion from whats known:

1) Super-computers are working their way towards the raw processing power of the human brain

2) Super-computers are also working on increasingly vast amounts of RAM

3) Moores Law

4) The spurt of quantum computing news over the last year

All that together means to me that, sooner or later, it'll be possible. We don't need robots pondering how many angels can fit on the tip of pin; just "Is that a target?" and "Should I fire at it."

Now, if programmers can't keep up with the raw power, as you (and game developers) hint at, then that's one thing.


RE: And then SkyNet
By FITCamaro on 8/6/2007 6:06:59 PM , Rating: 2
Yes I realize it is far more complex than I am stating.

And you said it yourself. It requires building a model. Then it has to "occur" or be run on a computer. Eventually the models will be made and perfected and the computers will be fast enough to handle them in real time much like the brain.

It's all just a matter of time and people far more intelligent than I am to figure it all out.

You're focusing on the present. I'm looking to the future. I don't doubt the capabilities of mankind one bit. Mankind has shown over and over than where theres a will theres a way. Its just a matter of expending the effort to do it. And scientists and researchers are.

100 years ago if you told someone that you could talk to someone via a video conference in real time they'd put you in an asylum. Who's to say what'll happen in the next 100 years. Technology has exploded in the past 40 years. Give it another 40 and see where we are.


RE: And then SkyNet
By BiuTech on 8/6/2007 4:32:29 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that it's just a matter of time. The future is automation and robotics, and as quantum computing continues to advance, much more will be possible with true AI.

It's amazing to see the imaginations of people like Isaac Asimov progressively develop into reality.


RE: And then SkyNet
By Black69ta on 8/7/2007 11:57:00 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry as this is kind of off the topic and backs you up without providing any proof but, if you want proof that we have a real possibility to one day see a good AI then watch old Star Trek episodes. the hypospray exists today. there is a limited function "tri-corder", even the teleporter has been demonstrated over a short distance, I think I read that in either CPU or MaximumPC, it was at a major Univ. Even a optical computer is close to a reality. Only 12 years ago ('95) a Cray-4 cost $11 Million and only delivered 32GigiFLOPs now a Sony PS3 delivers ~6 TeraFLOPS for around $500. So, I don't think the raw processing power required for "real" AI is that far off.


RE: And then SkyNet
By marvdmartian on 8/6/2007 11:42:05 AM , Rating: 2
Shouldn't your username be John Connor??? ;)


RE: And then SkyNet
By masteraleph on 8/6/2007 11:48:21 AM , Rating: 2
How about a nice game of chess?


some imagination...
By DeepBlue1975 on 8/6/2007 2:12:49 PM , Rating: 2
I imagine wars where the objective is to jam the other's remote controlling capability and to turn their hardware against the other selves.
Anyways, manned or not, their also unmanned bombs are going to explode in places where "human existence is different from zero", so do not mistake this, such a weapon allows less life losses from one side, but helps maximize the losses on the other side.

Wars are and will always be a practical demonstration of the human incapability to communicate properly.




RE: some imagination...
By FITCamaro on 8/6/2007 2:59:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Wars are and will always be a practical demonstration of the human incapability to communicate properly.


Really? Where was the failure to communicate in either World War? Negotiation was attempted and failed. Attempted for far to long no less. If that attitude was followed, the entire world would be speaking German. And thats only if you don't look at the centuries of war from the past.

No. War is necessary at times. You can either do whatever you're told and just let whose who try to oppress you do so. Or you can fight back. War is also necessary to prevent greater evil. We could have not attacked Iraq. And let the human atrocities happening there continue. And let Saddam continue to try and acquire weapons (we might not have found them. but if you believe he didn't or at least wasn't trying to acquire them, you're an idiot). But that wouldn't have taken an evil dictator who killed hundreds of thousands out of power. Sure it might not have been our business, affected us at all, or made people like us any more. But it was the right thing to do.

If you wanted to put a generalization on war though, its that it shows the greed in mankind. Any major war thats ever taken place has been about greed. Desire for more land or raw materials.

But that doesn't mean all war is evil. If not for war, the United States wouldn't exist. Neither would most of the countries in Europe. Or Asia. At some point in nearly every countries history, they've had to fight for their freedom.


RE: some imagination...
By DeepBlue1975 on 8/6/2007 4:25:39 PM , Rating: 1
That's a misconception.
Try to negotiate does not imply communication, or will to understand, or even will to solve the problems out in a civilized manner.
War has happened, but not because it was necessary but rather because no possible way was found or attempted to be found to try avoiding it.
If a war starts, it's just because no attempt was hard enough to prevent it.

The fact that almost no country in today's world would exist if not thanks to wars, does not mean that war should keep on being necessary for the mankind.

Humanity used to do many things in many ways that now are just plain anachronistic and utterly inadequate, that's part of our development as a race.
Learning from past mistakes is the way to go, making sure that we're going to repeat them is not.

I don't think humanity is ready for peace just yet, but same day it will, or at least, will need to be in order to avoid auto extinction, which would be the most idiotic thing to happen to an "intelligent" race.


RE: some imagination...
By FITCamaro on 8/6/2007 6:31:28 PM , Rating: 2
Yes...Europe wanted two World Wars. In which tens of millions of people were killed.

You said it yourself. Sometimes there is no way of averting war. You can choose to either fight, or not to. In the case of the World Wars, there was no choice but to fight or to be conquered. Perhaps all of Europe should have just chosen to be conquered because Germany felt it was the supreme race that should rule over all others. It would have averted war right?

Since you have all the answers though. How would you propose to solve the situation in Iraq? Pull all US troops out? Will that stop the religious killings and political fighting? No. But hey. Then the US isn't at war with Iraq and its ok. Maybe all the minority religious sects should just get on their knees and let those who wish to kill them for believing differently do so. That will stop that fighting. Hundreds of thousands will die needlessly but hey, then theres no war.

Any time that someone wants to kill you for your beliefs or take from you that which is yours, war is necessary. Whether its between two people, or two major countries. Yes one day perhaps mankind will be above that. But that is not today.


RE: some imagination...
By DeepBlue1975 on 8/7/2007 9:27:19 AM , Rating: 2
In the case of Iraq, do you really think it's because of religion and internal Iraq's policies? (which, by itself, would be quite silly... I thought the inquisition times were long overdue)
Do you actually believe that the USA started that war at Iraq (and for the sake of it, the previous Persian gulf war, too...) because of humanitarian intentions?
Don't you smell any bit of oil there?

In Africa there are still tribes in which their religion says they should cut a woman's clitoris when she's born because it is something bad and the USA does not engage into a war with them.
Not even does the USA try to go and convince them that what they do is plain abusive. Or does it?
In the case of WW2, Germany was the offensive party that started the war moves, the targeted ones needed to take a defensive approach first.
As on any other war, www2 was also fought because of concrete, material interests, be it economical expansion or defence from invasion.
Iraq was neither invading nor threatening the USA directly, so USA's actions were not defensive but offensive.
You can choose weather to be an offender or not, the most difficult choice is to decide weather to stay with your arms crossed while you're being offended, or to defend yourself by attacking back.

I'm not at all for Saddam, he preferred to face a much greater force like the USA and jeopardizing Iraq's population when they had no chance of winning, than to say something like
"hey, I don't have any nuclear weapons facility here, come take a look and see for yourself..." (in some unofficial communications not controlled by the USA, this was said to be true
but the USA didn't accept that kind of answer and went on with the war anyway)...
The question is, why does the USA care what kind of weapons other countries do have, is USA the only country allowed to build and create any kind of weapon known or not to imagination?
Why didn't the USA start a war with China when they recognized they had nuclear technology and didn't mean to stop building nuclear weapons at all?
Could USA easily wipe China of the map as they did with Iraq?
What about the almost 2 billion Chinese in the world, many of them spread out everywhere?
Can they be stopped so easily, specially when China is beginning to profile itself as the most powerful economy in the world?
The obvious answer is NO. USA won't attack when projected possible losses seem higher than possible wins. I'm not saying that's bad, just that if USA does "humanitarian warfare", and they believe the
Chinese are evil because of their nuclear technology, they should engage in war and see how well the USA could withstand the backfire.

It's well known that the USA's economy was always activated and strengthened by war, production ramps up, warfare labours give lots of job positions not only in the battlefield but
also in science, technological and technical matters and the whole industry instantly jumps on the war bandwagon...
But does this keep on being so valid in today's world? USA's financials aren't looking very bright and this last Iraq war didn't do anything to help....

And please, stop with those comments like "if you think [something you don't like here], then you're an idiot" or "you seem to have all the answers", and crap like that.
I'm neither being offensive to you nor taking this as a personal thing...
If you think you're right and I'm not, you can make your point without needing to start a personal attack on he who thinks different than you do.
Everybody of us would like the whole world to think like oneself does, but that's neither realistic nor attainable, the only thing we can choose
about that is the way we cope with it... And at least for me, violence is not the correct answer.
I'm not the enemy, I'm just someone who likes to exchange ideas ;)

PS: no, I don't have all the answers, and I don't have any problem on standing corrected once I found the counter arguments to my ideas solid enough to make me change my mind. Your arguments by now are as convincing to me as mine seem to be to you. And that doesn't bother me at all. Not every argument ends in agreement, but with an open enough mind, you at least end up knowing about thoughts very different to the ones you have, and if you're open enough, you can even try to understand them even if you don't like them at all...


Not a fair fight...
By jmunjr on 8/6/2007 4:47:59 PM , Rating: 2
I can't help but feel that any unmanned offensive weapon such as tanks, jets, etc is just not right. If we want to fight with someone we should be willing to accept the consequence of death in doing so.

Let's ask this question. Would Vietnam or the current Iraq situation be as controversial an issue if there were practically zero deaths due to the complete use of unmanned weapons?

These kinds of weapons will make it much easier for us to go to incite conflict and increasingly avoid diplomacy..

I guess we don't have much of a choice. Either we do it or someone else will, but it just seems cowardly to get in a fight with someone when you know there isn't a chance of anyone dying..




RE: Not a fair fight...
By Ringold on 8/6/2007 5:40:53 PM , Rating: 3
I dont understand the constant belief that these advances inevitably lead us to "incite conflict" and "increasingly avoid diplomacy".

Lets twist that Vietnam thing around, since you brought it up.

Let us suppose that we did indeed have drone armies to send to Vietnam, and the human death toll was minimal on our side. How is this bad? We could've marched them ahead without pause, annihilating the communists while the war was still young, and secured if not democracy then at least free market capitalism! Instead of living in poverty today Vietnam would be a bustling hub of economic prosperity, just as it is in places where such freedom was won in South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan.

All with fewer casualties, and a psychological blow to the communist powers that could've hastened the collapse of the Cold War rather then the encouraging defeat of America, sole defender of the free world.

Please, do say how that'd of been a bad thing, or how the ability to pull that off in some future time period would be bad, given that 9 times out of 10 that's precisely the type of war we're involved in, one where we're holding the line against perceived evil.


RE: Not a fair fight...
By SirLucius on 8/6/2007 5:54:00 PM , Rating: 2
Why is it that people fail to understand that these cost a crap-load of money to produce, and will for some time, unless America becomes a completely militaristic country and devotes the majority of resources to weapons development? There aren't going to be stockpiles of these things being prepped to go blow some poor country off the planet. So I don't see how there will be more incentive to go to war when there will be a limited number of extremely expensive machines available for use for the next XX years. And by the time unmanned machines are being mass produced, I'm sure other major powers won't be too far behind. You can't ignore economics when waging war. If you do, you've lost before you even got started.


Just great, the T-1000’s flying cousin.
By Noobsa44 on 8/6/2007 11:22:48 PM , Rating: 2
It’s funny that some of my co-workers and I were talking about this very concept today. The problem I see with this sort of vehicle is that its ability to be controlled remotely is the major weak point in the system.

Even if we assume that the signal is encrypted, and for the sake of argument, unjammable, then there are only two basic weak points I see. One is where you gain authorization physically (by, say, taking over the base that all the crafts are controlled) and the other is by breaking the encryption and taking over the craft.

In either case, the only way to prevent the worst case scenario (bombing our own cities, troops or allies), we would have to hard code (burned ROM chip?) the planes not to bomb/fight in certain areas. This means, if an attacker were to ever make it to the USA, these planes would be unable to defend us, because they couldn’t fight in those areas.

I suppose the only way to solve this is to build in an AI that is smart enough to know who the enemy is. That AI of course would be named SkyNet....




RE: Just great, the T-1000’s flying cousin.
By masher2 (blog) on 8/7/2007 12:58:56 AM , Rating: 2
> "One [weak point] is where you gain authorization physically (by, say, taking over the base that all the crafts are controlled)..."

If you can gain such access to that base (and had the skills and knowledge to remotely pilot the craft), then one must assume you could just as easily seize and fly a non-autonomous version of the same craft. So the risk here isn't increased at all.

> "...and the other is by breaking the encryption and taking over the craft."

Codes aren't as easy to break as Hollywood movies make out. In fact, the military has long used codes which are not just "hard" to break, but impossible, such as the OTP. Key exchange is a b***h, but for cases where compromise is wholly unacceptable, they are quite useful.


By DeepBlue1975 on 8/7/2007 9:30:21 AM , Rating: 2
They might be impossible to break...
But is any radiofrequency communication totally impervious to heavy interference?
The enemy doesn't need to break the code to disable the drones, they just need to cause enough interference so that the link is lost :D


pictures
By stjoker on 8/6/2007 2:03:31 PM , Rating: 2
pictures
By stjoker on 8/6/2007 2:04:28 PM , Rating: 2
actually this is a better link...whoops

http://www.is.northropgrumman.com/systems/nucasx47...




To all of you ... heros!
By vladio on 8/6/2007 8:27:16 PM , Rating: 2
Hello guys!
you all sound so ... optimistic, kill, kill. Well, just remember this when YOU will be on the opposite side!
do not cry wolf! With current direction, we all will be dead meet! too bad ... majority of people just so stupid!!!




In other news...
By Samus on 8/7/2007 1:55:56 AM , Rating: 2
This just in! DVD-Jon has cracked the radio encryption code for the X47B. Google searches in the middle east were up 4000% for the following keywords:

"X47B"
"DVD-Jon"
"Missing AK47's Where?:
"American Infidels"




first
By orangeaids on 8/6/07, Rating: -1
RE: first
By mdogs444 on 8/6/07, Rating: 0
RE: first
By webdawg77 on 8/6/07, Rating: 0
RE: first
By FITCamaro on 8/6/2007 11:33:21 AM , Rating: 1
Ah the age of the retarded MySpace generation. Fear for the world when that generation is in charge.


RE: first
By 3kliksphilip on 8/6/2007 11:57:27 AM , Rating: 1
Perhaps he was suggesting that it's his first post EVER. In which case, welcome to the forums and thanks for contributing! Nice overall post rank, by the way.


RE: first
By lufoxe on 8/6/2007 12:19:45 PM , Rating: 2
if it was... he needs to say it a different way, be more... descriptive maybe?


RE: first
By 3kliksphilip on 8/6/2007 8:11:35 PM , Rating: 2
I believe that his first post says more about his future posts than any well thought out, methodical piece.


Nice
By Relion on 8/6/07, Rating: -1
RE: Nice
By Moishe on 8/6/2007 1:16:01 PM , Rating: 2
I guess if you want to ignore all of the positive elements of conflict and throw around wild unfounded accusations... then yes, you're right!


RE: Nice
By FITCamaro on 8/6/2007 1:22:20 PM , Rating: 2
Yes our president is making millions off the war....how pray tell? While I'm sure Bush has investments in various corporations same as every other politician on Capitol Hill, he owns no corporations involved in the Iraq war nor is he even tied to any through a past employment relationship. Cheney has a past relationship with Halliburton since he owned them but I really could care less that the contract went to an American company instead of the French.

Yes the defense industry is a big business but thats true regardless of whether we are at war or not.

And unlike those we're fighting right now, the only people we kill are those who try to kill us. We don't drive dump trucks into towns and blow them up and kill almost 20 kids. Yes there have been accidents where civilians have been killed in Iraq by US forces but we, unlike the terrorists, are sorry for them and do everything we can to prevent them. If you add up all the civilian deaths caused by the US in Iraq you have less than 100. The other 50,000 or however high the number has gone is all them killing each other in their own political and religious infighting. And that killing was going on long before we got there. We're trying to stop it, not encourage it.


RE: Nice
By Relion on 8/6/2007 5:30:39 PM , Rating: 2
Have you ever heard of "Carlyle Group"


RE: Nice
By Ringold on 8/6/2007 5:44:41 PM , Rating: 2
Typical. Avoid the entire bulk of the argument to make a single one-line statement that, to liberals, expresses some sort of truism, but to the rest just shows that one doesn't understand what they're talking about.

If defense firms were printing money, you could do almost as well as them by buying the common stock.


RE: Nice
By Relion on 8/6/2007 5:53:39 PM , Rating: 2
Get used to it. I won't elaborate much on topics I'd think people know about...think about it pal ... $600+ million dollars ... US hasn't yet enough military power yet? Do you really need to expend that ? Does the people of the united states want that ? Or is it just a few that want ? You can call it just a line and that I am avoiding...I may call it I just want people to think....or if you prefer to avoid thinking...that's not my problem. I'd love to see that money "wasted" on better things like health or education.


RE: Nice
By SirLucius on 8/6/2007 5:59:24 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, the United States should stop all military development since we're currently on top. Let's just ignore the other countries that are rapidly developing - we're set right now. Sure, health care and education are important, but don't you think that being able to defend and assert oneself with minimal loss is just as neseccary?


RE: Nice
By Relion on 8/6/2007 6:14:20 PM , Rating: 2
Ok I lose....nothing can be done...let the power hungry finish us off...there's no way we can stop this...there has to be an endless weaponry development until...well...maybe until the strongest and "smartest" says...enough of it...this is getting us nowhere...there has to be someone to say stop in a discussion...it's not that different in this kind of matters...the example should be given...but it seems we won't see it from this government at least. And I .. well I am stopping here ... the one that wants to understand do so ... the one that does not... do so ... that is life.


RE: Nice
By stromgald on 8/6/2007 6:33:08 PM , Rating: 3
It's pretty clear you're running because you don't have an argument.

quote:
Ok I lose....nothing can be done...let the power hungry finish us off...there's no way we can stop this...

Who has the US 'finished' off? Japan maybe? Afghanistan? I don't see it. If you're saying the U.S. is still building up to take over the world, you should realize that the US is spending less of it's total income on the military than ever before.

Military development is the primary motivator for innovation. Why do you think technological development was so great in the 20th century? You wouldn't have computers, velcro, kevlar, cell phones, and a ton of other things, which are benefitting all of humanity if it weren't for military spending.

If you think someone needs to be the 'bigger' man and put down their arms first, go convince the Chinese government or the Arab militias in the middle east, because the US government won't do it. And it's not because of Bush, Cheney, or the Republicans. The US government won't stop military development because they are responsible for the protection fo 200+ million people.


RE: Nice
By Relion on 8/7/2007 11:56:57 AM , Rating: 2
I was not running away from the discussion...I had to go home...you know family and that stuff...I seems the point I touched bothered someone since my comments worths a -1 to my rating...wow...thats the same rating a kid gets for saying first at the threads...I won't post anymore since it is pretty pointless with that rating no one will pay attention...may be that's exactly what is intended...Anyway I wanted to point out some final things that you may deny but they still there and are real 1. United States spend millions of dollars yearly for military efforts and it is a shame that that money doesn't go anywhere else. 2. United States are invaders, they don't care about international laws, they just care about them and no the other countries (Invading Irak for oil is proffitable, sugar is not that much) 3. War is a big business, for some people...for the most it just mean losing parents, kids, friends, etc...on both sides....The war debts pay well too. 4. meh...I'm not losing more time here...-1 rating wow


RE: Nice
By rcc on 8/7/2007 3:03:56 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
1. United States spend millions of dollars yearly for military efforts and it is a shame that that money doesn't go anywhere else.


It's billions dude. Times have changed. As Representative Robert Harper said, "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute".
Bottom line, we've been kicked around enough over the years that we refuse to play second fiddle to anyone. But, if you can convince everyone else to scale back, you'll find us very much willing to spend that money in other areas.

quote:
2. United States are invaders, they don't care about international laws, they just care about them and no the other countries (Invading Irak for oil is proffitable, sugar is not that much)


Hmmm, I suppose you could make this point, in the case of Iraq. Although regardless of how you feel about the whole issue, Saddam was in violation of international law and the mandates of the UN. We did something about it, with our allies. The fact that the UN didn't have the intestinal fortitude to back up their demands, and wouldn't back the US up when we did, is a different matter.

As far as "Invading Iraq for oil" goes? I'm paying more for gas and fuel oil now than at anytime in history, plus or minus a few cents, so please feel free to show me the profit. Not party lines, not platitudes, show me the profit.

quote:
3. War is a big business, for some people...for the most it just mean losing parents, kids, friends, etc...on both sides....The war debts pay well too.


I'm tired of being polite to holier than thou morons. Go pound sand. If you want to blame corporations for starting the way, go for it, and bitch at them. Losing loved ones is always tragic, we are doing it too. There is hope for a better future, but the past of the people you are talking about was no better, substantially worse, in fact.

So, just for the record, which heaven sent, peaceable, people loving country are you from? I must have missed that part of your equitable, mind opening discussion.

Best of luck.


RE: Nice
By Relion on 8/7/2007 6:05:16 PM , Rating: 2
Costa Rica


RE: Nice
By tatoruso on 8/24/2007 4:03:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote: computers, velcro, kevlar, cell phones, and a ton of other things....
Does that make the world a better place?
Please tell me where do you get that?! there are more hungry people than ever all over the world, and if the USA is soooo strong and correct, then what the hell are they doing messing with other country´s business? USA Should get the hell out of Irak just because it´s a direct contradiction to the ideals they say they have...
How do u justify 3000+ dead americans over a few hundreds that died at 9/11?
The expenses? the dead iraquis? do you think that "feeling sorry for them" is any good? AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE INTERNATIONAL BULLIES!!!!!
And no, I´m not saying that Iraquis have a better government... what I say is that common people like all of us should emerge anda rise from all the BS that the media and the people incharge feed us and look for a better world in which finally ideals of love and peace could emerge and flourish....
Cant everybody see that, in the same manner the palestinian are convinced of becoming a human bomb "for their reigion/life/beliefs" also the americans are being convinced of INVADING other peoples countrys, killing them, and force upon them the unstoppable and ever-hungry capitalism?

quote "they are responsible for the protection fo 200+ million people."
how come the war has killed more americans than the terrorists attacks that allegedly provoked it?
Anybody who has at least a bit of a soul, a heart, a mind, cannot be in favor of War.
Ever.


RE: Nice
By stromgald on 8/6/2007 6:22:49 PM , Rating: 2
You do realize that the percentage that the US government has spent on the military has overall decreased steadily since WWII? The total dollar value might be increasing slowly, but the percentage has dropped significantly. It was close to 40% during World War II, small peak at 9.4% during Vietnam, and is now at 3.7%. Much more than 3.7% are being spent on medicare and social security.

$600 million sounds like alot, until you put it in the context of a $2.4 trillion budget. Learn to put your statistics in perspective instead of spouting FUD.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget_of_th...
http://www.truthandpolitics.org/military-relative-...


RE: Nice
By GeeSussFreeK on 8/7/2007 9:40:24 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think you are looking at apples to apples with that kind of comparison. The budget has become much more social welfare programs in it with inflate the budget drastically. Just because defense is a lower percentage of the budget then ever before doesn't mean that it isn't still very costly.


RE: Nice
By GeeSussFreeK on 8/7/2007 9:47:29 AM , Rating: 2
sorry for the bad grammar, that is supposed to read "The budget has become more inflated with social welfare programs" But I think you can get the basic idea of what I said.

Wasn't the first appropriation on the order of magnitude of 400 billion dollars? Not the actual fighting, the reconstruction. That is a huge chuck of change that doesn't seem to be polled into the cost of war but the calculator monkeys.


RE: Nice
By stromgald on 8/7/2007 11:48:54 AM , Rating: 2
Good point. A significant amount of money spent in Iraq might not be represented in the actual 'defense' category of the budget. However, it's pretty hard to tell how much is accounted for elsewhere. Stupid accountants :-P.

I'm not saying whether or not we should be spending more or less on Iraq. I'm just objecting to the arguments that 1) the US is spending too much on the military and not enough on health and welfare based on a $636 million expenditure, and 2) the "high" military spending is motivated by a select few. That $6.36 million is less than 0.03% of the national budget. I don't think the US people have a problem with the government spending 5% of the budget on military/defense.


RE: Nice
By GeeSussFreeK on 8/7/2007 10:18:04 AM , Rating: 2
After doing some digging around, I think to this point, congress has funded 315 billion dollars in total appropriations. That is pretty huge relative to the budget at large, and even without looking at our huge budget, it is a lot of money.


RE: Nice
By FITCamaro on 8/6/2007 6:14:56 PM , Rating: 2
Excerpt from wikipedia's info on the Carlyle Group:

quote:
Defense investments represent about 1% of the group's current portfolio


RE: Nice
By tatoruso on 8/24/2007 4:17:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
We don't drive dump trucks into towns and blow them up and kill almost 20 kids

No no no! that´s sooo low-tech
Americans do it by missiles! it´s sooo neat and cool!!!
Like the footage they release? in black and white, lest people get disgusted by the blood, or thought of having ripped apart a father, a son, a grandmother.... it´s like atari!!!
wippi!!! let´s kill them all!!!!!!

(just in case nobody noticed, i was being sarcastic)


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