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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: Playing with fire
By BlackBanna on 11/8/2007 2:11:57 PM , Rating: 2
War becoming more civilized is mostly related to the "Eastern" part of the world. The whole of Asia was a mess in WWII and still is for the most part today. And what about Africa? Then their is the nagging unfair question of why are we fighting? I think your statement is more hit and miss.

Air and C4I are only a small part of a war effort. You have to put troops on the ground. Air power and all the other just reduce the cost of lives to active an operational success. Its your ground forces that win wars. It's why we plant flags. ;)

RE: Playing with fire
By masher2 on 11/8/2007 2:19:11 PM , Rating: 3
> "And what about Africa?"

Most of Africa is still fighting according to Medieval standards...and largely with weapons barely removed from the same period. During the Tutsi/Hutu massacre in Rwanda, more people were killed with clubs and knives than any other weapon.

> "You have to put troops on the ground"

Not quite. To win ground, you have to put "something" on that ground. Up till now, the only thing we've had that can actually occupy ground territory is live troops. In the future, though, we can fill that role with autons.

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