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  (Source: Gizmodo)
U.S. Army places three gun-toting robots in Iraq

When it comes to robots on the battlefield, the U.S. military has a virtual skunkworks of contraptions roaming the ground and air.

In December, DailyTech reported on the iRobot PackBot which can detect enemy AK-47 gunfire via its Robot Enhanced Detection Outpost with Lasers (REDOWL) system. Just a few months ago, iRobot showed off its SUGV Early (Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle) which weighs in at 30 pounds -- this is compared to 44 pounds for the iRobot PackBot.

The U.S. Army is stepping up things in the battlefield robot arena dramatically with its new Special Weapons Observation Remote reconnaissance Direct action System (SWORDS). Three SWORDS robots were deployed in Iraq and their capabilities put human soldiers out of harm’s way.

Each robot can carry up to three M249 machines guns which are controlled by a soldier through a remote terminal. This means that every shot fired will have to be approved by a human -- the robot will not start firing without prior authorization.

As of today, no shots have been fired by the robots on the battlefield.

"Anytime you utilize technology to take a U.S. service member out of harm’s way, it is worth every penny," said John Saitta of Smart Business Advisory and Consulting. "These armed robots can be used as a force multiplier to augment an already significant force in the battle space."

The Army is pleased with the three SWORDS robots that it now has, but has requested an additional 80 for combat use. Unfortunately for the Army, additional funding has not been approved for the purchase.

"As [soldiers] use them and like them, I’ve heard positive feedback, they want 20 more immediately. It’s a shame we can’t get them to them," said SWORDS program manager Michael Zecca.

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RE: Funding in Iraq
By Griswold on 8/3/2007 1:10:33 PM , Rating: 0
Newsflash, you're not going to "remove" this homebrew terrorist threat, no matter what or who you send there or who supports the troops. By now, the number one problem is probably not terrorists fighting allies in iraq, but sunnis killing schiites and vice versa, also known as civil war - and our troops are in the middle of it.

Would have been cheaper to not turn iraq into a huge terrorist-training-camp with added civil-war-value in the first place and just leave it to Saddam who was never a friend of fundamentalists to begin with...

The best one can do is to prepare the iraqi government and defense forces as good as possible and get the hell out of there or else we'll be debating for the next 10 years.

RE: Funding in Iraq
By straycat74 on 8/4/2007 11:03:39 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe you should look into the sunnis that are becoming allied with the US forces because even they are getting tired of the civillian suicide bombings. Now only if the Iraqis could only be Iraqis first, as one people like us Americans. -Oh wait, we are not Americans first, we are hyphinated Americans. Mexican-Americans, Asian-Americans, African-Americans., Etc. Nevermind. My bad.

RE: Funding in Iraq
By dude on 8/5/2007 3:43:31 PM , Rating: 2
Fortunately, they are now our allies.

Unfortunately, they are just as violent as ever.

Fortunately, their violent nature is working well against the opposing force.

RE: Funding in Iraq
By ceefka on 8/4/2007 11:25:46 AM , Rating: 2
Saddam who was never a friend of fundamentalists to begin with...

Which was one of the reasons his reign was condoned at first by the western countries.

"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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