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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: Funny
By Spoelie on 8/5/2007 11:02:17 AM , Rating: 2
it does seem to resemble movies however, just a few steps before we have the same "swords" as in the movie "screamers"

quote:
Screamers is set in the year 2078 on the planet Sirius 6B, a once thriving commercial hub and mining colony now reduced to a battle-torn wasteland by a prolonged war. The miners (or "The Alliance") created an army of self-constructing, artificially intelligent weapons called Autonomous Mobile Swords in an effort to gain the upper hand on their technologically and economically superior foe. These weapons were nicknamed the "screamers" by Alliance soldiers, due to the shrill screeching sound they emit as they attack.


"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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