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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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Won't change anything
By mjcutri on 12/13/2006 1:56:45 PM , Rating: 1
Every new technology affects how wars are fought (tactics), but not how they are won. To win a war, you must put troops on the ground. It has been proven again and again throughout history.

RE: Won't change anything
By bnme on 12/13/2006 2:03:28 PM , Rating: 5
Oh, like high-tech robotic ground troops.

RE: Won't change anything
By Dfere on 12/13/2006 2:05:38 PM , Rating: 4
We certainly need "boots on the ground". That alone does not win a war.

Vietnam proved that theory wrong. So did the Japanese invasion and occupation of Manchuria. Same for oh.. gee, the American Revolution.

The political aspects, and inside an army, intelligence, logistical and technical factors also contribute to success in a war. There are also societal factors which enable a country to prevail in a crisis or war.

RE: Won't change anything
By KaiserCSS on 12/13/2006 2:54:31 PM , Rating: 2
Not necissarily. This is the first time in history where humans are not required to be physically present while performing the role of a pilot or a soldier. What the Army is aiming for is a way to minimize the amount of manpower put in harms way by replacing manpower with interlinked robotic drones.

Oh, has anyone every seen Terminator? I don't know about you guys, but doesn't this sound a little like SkyNet? They want all of there unmanned vehicles to be linked together through a comabt network. How long will it take before UAVs and UGVs are completely autonomous?

RE: Won't change anything
By Hypernova on 12/13/2006 3:07:02 PM , Rating: 2
That was the first thing that crossed my mind.

RE: Won't change anything
By creathir on 12/13/2006 6:11:39 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, I would say the FIRST time would be the V2 rocket bombs launched from Germany in WWII against England.

Sure they were not accurate at all, but that was not the point. They succeeded in spreading the terror they intended, all without a pilot or soldier.

- Creathir

RE: Won't change anything
By Chillin1248 on 12/14/2006 10:41:02 AM , Rating: 2
Actually the first case would be the Japanes Balloon bombs:

On May 5, 1945, a balloon bomb which had drifted over the Pacific killed five children and a woman. The six who perished were the only known casualties inflicted by a Japanese attack on the US mainland during World War II.


RE: Won't change anything
By iNGEN on 12/14/2006 2:28:58 PM , Rating: 2
I am a technology junkie...JUNKIE, and I can honestly say that UCAVs are one of the few avenues of technology advancement that genuinely scares me. In a sick sort of way the loss of life associated with warfare has IMO (not empirical in any way) a strong positive corrolation with the ethical use of war.

I have serious reservations about the moral implications of this technology path.

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher
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