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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 masher2 on 11/8/2007 3:26:02 PM , Rating: 3
> "You clearly know nothing about the eastern front for starters"

Based on your comments, I know far more about it than you. In fact, my wife's grandfather died fighting on the Eastern Front, and her grandmother lived in a Soviet town occupied by the Germans for several years.

Notice the use of the word "occupied". Almost none of the civilian population was killed. In fact, far more were killed after the Soviets retook the area, by their own people for "collaboration" with the enemy.

You're still missing the point here. Plenty of atrocities occurred in WW2-- rape, murder, destruction of entire vilages, even. But they were in no, way, or form "standard operating procedure". A simple look at population statistics proves it. Som 20 million European civilians died in WW2...but 600+ million survived. They were *not* killed, though they were in close proximity to enemy forces that could have easily done so had they wished. In earlier conflicts, even though fought with much less destructive weaponry, the vast majority of the civilian populace would have died.

Anyone who thinks human behavior "reached a low" in WW2 honestly knows nothing about the barbaric history of warfare. Seriously, read up a little on any historical conflict prior to the Renaissance era. You'll see instantly how dramatically the rules have changed.

RE: Playing with fire
By rcc on 11/8/2007 6:54:26 PM , Rating: 2
Brings to mind several words or terms that are thrown around casually these days without thinking where they came from.

Decimate. And no, you can't decimate a town to the last man. It means to kill every 10th person. A common practice for the Roman army in towns that caused problems.

Caesarian. We use it as a surgical, semi happy term, and a life saving technique. The original reference is to the Roman (again) practice of slicing open a pregnant woman's womb and letting baby out a bit early. My pitiful humor aside it's not what we would consider a "civilized" behavior.

We'll save Ring Around the Rosey, and Mary, Mary Quite Contrary for another time.

So, yes, warfare and life in general is far more civilized now than at any point in history. Particularly when you look at what could be done with the far more destructive weapons available now and in the last century.

Which isn't, as Masher2 mentioned, to say that atrocities don't happen, but just the fact that we view them as atrocities and use that term proves that society in general is far more sensitized to them.
Further, if you look at the semimodern atrocities mentioned, in all cases the people guilty of the atrocity were in a position of considering the victims as less human then themselves.

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