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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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local company
By Screwballl on 11/8/2007 1:04:04 PM , Rating: 2
BAE has some local offices here close to Eglin AFB and Tyndal AFB so we hear an occasional trickle of not so secret projects in the local area (was good to work at the local hardware store that gets large orders for military projects, say 12,000 galvanized 2" elbows), I heard about this over a year ago and it is good to see they are out there testing it and making use of it. From what I hear they can make a fleet of these with our men sitting comfortably in a bunker here in the US out of the line of fire, controlling them from halfway across the globe.

RE: local company
By TomZ on 11/8/2007 1:14:04 PM , Rating: 2
was good to work at the local hardware store that gets large orders for military projects, say 12,000 galvanized 2" elbows

It's always good to know that military contractors are using a well-managed supply chain with good quality control. :0)

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