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Lockheed Martin’s Silver Fox UAV
Lockheed Martin successfully controls four unmanned devices from a single control point

Lockheed Martin is proud to announce it has successfully tested a new centralized controller device for unmanned vehicles. The successful tests enable the military to further expand the deployment of unmanned vehicles with less input from personnel.

With Lockheed Martin's system, an operator is able to control as many as four different unmanned vehicles from a single laptop touch screen and hand controller.

"This is a very important step in risk reduction for the Army’s Future Combat System Centralized Controller Device," said Gene Holleque of Lockheed Martin's Missiles and Fire Control division.  "This test proves Lockheed Martin and its industry partners are resolving the issues involved with controlling several disparate unmanned systems from a single centralized controller.  It also gives us an opportunity to experiment with human factors early in the process to ensure we can deliver an effective and soldier-friendly controller to the warfighter."

A number of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) were featured in Lockheed Martin's tests. The vehicles included the Lockheed Martin Silver Fox, Roll Based Operations Architecture robot and the Lockheed Martin UGV demonstrator. Also used were UHF, L-band and wireless broadband radio links used in conjunction with the Combat Maneuver Mission Route Planner (CMMRP) to control the unmanned vehicles.

Unmanned vehicles appear to be the wave of the future when it comes to the United States military. The government is pumping millions of dollars into research and every penny is worth if it means that human pilots/operators aren't put into harm’s way.

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By mellondust on 12/13/2006 1:27:17 PM , Rating: 3
I wonder if it is easier to go to war if we know we are sending mostly drone planes, tanks, or ships to fight instead of human opperators? It might not even matter but interesting to think about.

By novacthall on 12/13/2006 1:43:19 PM , Rating: 2
Have you ever played Metal Gear or watched Terminator?

By rushfan2006 on 12/13/2006 4:15:48 PM , Rating: 2
Actually that is exactly what many fear for our future...not necessarily just us (USA) but other countries as well....if there is no discernible risk to human life on the country's side that is doing the attacking....that would make the politicans more apt to go to war than they already are.they'd be totally de-sensitized.

By masher2 on 12/14/2006 12:00:31 AM , Rating: 2
You're being far too negative. If there is no discernable risk to human life, that's a good thing. It means the potential for future wars to be fought wholly without loss of human life on either side. After one side has defeated the other's network, there's no need for actual bloodshed.

The number of civilians killed as a ratio to the number of combatants has been declining steadily the past several hundred years...due primarily to technology. Nuclear weapons and the policy of MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) threatened to reverse that...but precision munitions and autonomous combat networks will continue the process. So yes, war may become more "tolerable". But it'll also become far less bloody.

By Milliamp on 12/14/2006 8:33:56 AM , Rating: 2
But these machines cost tons of money, although there may be little risk in terms of human life, there is a large financial risk.

They will probably be deployed as forward recon and scouts, but the bulk of the fighting will still be done by humans for a while.

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