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BAE Systems Black Knight   (Source: Defense Update)
BAE Systems' Black Knight is a formidable weapon for the battlefield

In early October, DailyTech brought you the story of Foster-Miller's MAARS (Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System). The MAARS followed in the footsteps of previous battlefield robots like the REDOWL PakBot and the SUGV Early.

The 300-pound MAARS, on the other hand, brought serious firepower and technology to the table. The MAARS features a M240B Medium Machine Gun and uses GPS tracking to reduce the risk of friendly fire.

While the MAARS is an impressive piece of machinery, BAE Systems is taking battlefield robots to the next level with its Black Knight. The Black Knight is a semi-autonomous 9.5 ton tank based on the Bradley fighting vehicle.

The Black Knight can be controlled from the traditional commander's station or by remote control via the Dismounted Control Device (DCD). Due to its advanced programming, the Black Knight can also autonomously plan routes and avoid obstacles without user intervention.

When it comes to the Black Knights armament, human intervention is required to fire rounds (thankfully). Considering that the Black Knight is armed with a 30mm gun and a coaxial machine gun, it's good to know that this tank won't be rolling around firing at anything that moves.

BAE Systems detailed how admirably the Black Knight performed during a demonstration in early 2007.

"While the Bradley Technology Demonstrator was engaging an enemy target from cover in a support by fire position, the Black Knight was able to autonomously move to a covered position and observe the target, using its sensor package to provide battle damage assessment data back to the Bradley," explained BAE Systems.

"If the enemy target needed to be re-engaged, the Black Knight could effectively neutralize the target, but the command to fire would always be made by a remote Soldier and only after the data necessary to make positive identification is received."

It may be years before such potent machinery is available for use on actual battlefields, however.

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Jam the Frequencies
By MagnumMan on 11/8/2007 12:19:27 PM , Rating: 1
Since this tank cannot fire on its own, were someone able to come up with a signal jammer for the feqeuencies being used, it would render the tank essentialy useless in the field.

I can't see these being used without some type of ground support, as it would just be too easy to disable by taking out one or more of the many antennas.

Does it have high-voltage countermeasures for direct attacks against it, say a soldier climbing onto it and snapping off the antennas?

RE: Jam the Frequencies
By Master Kenobi on 11/8/2007 12:23:39 PM , Rating: 2
Antennas are internal, you can't just run up and snap it off and it would be useless. You will also have a hell of a time jamming it. This thing uses modulating frequenceies that are standard in UAV's, we can jam the entire area and those damn UAV's can still communicate just fine. If you could come up with a jammer though, it would be very very high tech.

RE: Jam the Frequencies
By therealnickdanger on 11/8/2007 12:43:45 PM , Rating: 5
"Oh no! They're adapting!"

"Quick, modulate shield frequencies!"

RE: Jam the Frequencies
By masher2 on 11/8/2007 2:23:53 PM , Rating: 1
> "Antennas are internal"

You can't put an antenna inside a metal box and it still receive signals (see 'faraday cage' for details why).

I'd be curious to know just how well these antenna are shielded. Probably some nonconducting plug/plate of a tough composite material covering them?

RE: Jam the Frequencies
By NicePants42 on 11/8/2007 12:26:09 PM , Rating: 2
"There's only one person who would dare give me the raspberry..."

RE: Jam the Frequencies
By soxfan on 11/8/2007 12:27:36 PM , Rating: 2
Ahem... Antenna's are not always big pointy things sticking out in the open.

RE: Jam the Frequencies
By Polynikes on 11/8/2007 12:33:20 PM , Rating: 2
Wait, you mean my Nokia cell phone has an antenna... INSIDE? I thought it just magically got the signal without one!


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