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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 TomZ on 11/8/2007 2:48:36 PM , Rating: 2
But the problem with that idea is that the money doesn't come out of the decision maker's pocketbook. And it is clear that politicians in general have very few qualms or reservations about spending taxpayer dollars.

In fact, I would argue that the notion of restraining spending on the part of the federal government has completely gone out the window. I can't even think of the last time that I heard some new spending proposal put down simply because it costs too much. Such proposals only seem to get stopped based on some other principle, e.g., not wanting to spread government-funded health insurance into the middle class.

RE: Playing with fire
By masher2 on 11/8/2007 2:53:53 PM , Rating: 1
> "But the problem with that idea is that the money doesn't come out of the decision maker's pocketbook"

For a small war, no. For a large-scale conflict, it does, if that person has any investments or financial holdings at all. More importantly, it comes out of the pockets of those who finance and contribute to political campaigns. Take a look at Iraq, for instance. I seriously believe there's been more complaint about the cost of the war, rather the number of US troops actually killed there.

RE: Playing with fire
By TomZ on 11/8/2007 3:04:45 PM , Rating: 2
Well, you might be right, but I seriously doubt that, for example, Bush has been personally affected one bit by the Iraq war.

And I'm not sure I agree on the cost vs. casualties point either. I'm personally outraged by the cost of the Iraq war both in human terms and dollar terms, and I think a lot of other people are too.

RE: Playing with fire
By Darkskypoet on 11/8/07, Rating: -1
RE: Playing with fire
By James Holden on 11/8/07, Rating: -1
RE: Playing with fire
By TomZ on 11/8/2007 4:05:43 PM , Rating: 2
The U.S. gets its oil from Canada, not Iraq.

That's not true. The US gets oil from Canada, yes, but it also gets a lot from Iraq as well as a number of other countries in the Middle East:

RE: Playing with fire
By James Holden on 11/8/07, Rating: 0
RE: Playing with fire
By TomZ on 11/8/2007 7:54:03 PM , Rating: 2
Didn't you write an article about rising oil prices due to refinery constraints?

If you're replying to my post, then I would answer "no." I haven't written any articles for DT.

RE: Playing with fire
By Ringold on 11/8/2007 3:39:27 PM , Rating: 2
You probably can't substantiate hardly of any of that, but feel free to try.

RE: Playing with fire
By rcc on 11/8/2007 6:13:06 PM , Rating: 2
You know how it goes, it's far more fun to fling rumors and unsubstantiated claims that to actually think about what you're saying.

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