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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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RE: Friendly fire
By cochy on 11/8/2007 12:24:35 PM , Rating: 5
I love the idea of these autonomous fighting machines. Nothing can demoralize an enemy more than the fact that they are fighting robots.

RE: Friendly fire
By GhandiInstinct on 11/8/2007 12:53:28 PM , Rating: 3
This man deserves a 6.

RE: Friendly fire
By kileil on 11/8/2007 12:53:36 PM , Rating: 4
Just imagine the crushing weight of despair as they realize their enemy couldnt be bothered to show up in person, and instead are on the couch, snacking on chips, and occasionally flicking to the "robot wars" channel.

"Hey steve, pass me a soda and reboot bot #27. It's stuck in a corner at the moment. Theeeere we go."

RE: Friendly fire
By TomZ on 11/8/2007 1:10:37 PM , Rating: 2
Better yet, tank driving becomes an office job - somewhere here safely in the US, even though the tank might be located anywhere in the world. This job could be staffed by computer nerds instead of tough guys. :o)

RE: Friendly fire
By Brandon Hill on 11/8/2007 1:16:48 PM , Rating: 5
Until the job gets outsourced to India... ;-)

RE: Friendly fire
By murphyslabrat on 11/8/2007 1:30:20 PM , Rating: 2
ALL of the sudden, Tank "Sim" takes on a whole new meaning. Even a 12-year-old could take the place of a three-man operation team.

RE: Friendly fire
By Xavian on 11/8/2007 5:36:05 PM , Rating: 2
Reminds me of the film Toys.

Kids piloting helicopters and tanks, without even realizing it's real-life.


RE: Friendly fire
By Xavian on 11/8/2007 5:36:55 PM , Rating: 2
piloting helicopters and tanks from a computer screen i mean.

RE: Friendly fire
By geddarkstorm on 11/8/2007 2:08:25 PM , Rating: 2
Oh great, turning the army into a MMORPG.

RE: Friendly fire
By Amiga500 on 11/8/2007 1:32:40 PM , Rating: 2
"Hey steve, pass me a soda and reboot bot #27. It's stuck in a corner at the moment. Theeeere we go."

They need to avoid the house robots though - all is mere cannon fodder to Sir KillALot ;-)

RE: Friendly fire
By FNG on 11/8/2007 1:44:15 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't that how the Air Force fights now?

RE: Friendly fire
By Lord 666 on 11/8/2007 1:35:57 PM , Rating: 2
Or until the "enemy" figures out how to fool it with tin foil or other simple tactics. Remember when a F-117 was shot down because it was able to be tracked with standard radar when the bomb bay doors were open? Similar principle, they are just robots and the "enemy" will develop counter measures. Even the Terminator 101 could be beat.

However, good for BAE as they have an office not far from where I live.

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