Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Army Gives Robo Jeeps a Go

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the don't-worry-yet dept.

Robotics 81

jamesl writes with an excerpt from Defense Tech, which says the U.S. Army is sending "four [of] Lockheed's Squad Mission Support System (SMSS) robot jeeps to Afghanistan where they'll haul supplies for troops. The trucks are being sent there as part of a test program to see just how useful robot cargo trucks can be. The 11-foot long trucks can carry a half a ton of supplies for up to 125 miles after being delivered to the field in a CH-47 or CH-53 helo."

cancel ×

81 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

I think they might work out... (0)

PrimeWaveZ (513534) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010034)

As long as they haven't licensed any of Google's patents on self-driving vehicles. I'm sure if it's successful, Google will bitch about it, though.

Re:I think they might work out... (2)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 2 years ago | (#37011192)

The U.S. government, emphatically the military, doesn't need to license jack... the military contractor providing the jeeps on the other hand...

Re:I think they might work out... (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 2 years ago | (#37012512)

They're the US government... They've been known to just walk in and TAKE what they want... Then tell you that YOU can't tell anybody, or sell your product.

Best not to complain like that.... After all THEY write the patent laws!

Re:I think they might work out... (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 2 years ago | (#37012524)

"Best not to complain like that.... After all THEY write the patent laws" ... Or rather they get to enforce them with guns when they choose.

How expensive are they? (1)

prefec2 (875483) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010054)

Or to be more precise, are their cheaper than a normal truck + humans? The US is definitely spending too much money on military. So the right thing to do is, use technology or practices (move out of Afghanistan and start no new war) which is more money efficient.

However, such truck is (if it works) impressive technology. A real autonomous vehicle. Nice.

Re:How expensive are they? (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010130)

Each soldier on average costs about $1m for training, equipment and deployment.

I don't know how much one of these costs but if it saves two soldiers it can have a huge ROI.

Re:How expensive are they? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010302)

I don't know how much one of these costs but if it saves two soldiers it can have a huge ROI.

Only if that means they have a smaller army instead of giving that soldier some other task to perform.

Re:How expensive are they? (3, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010598)

I don't know how much one of these costs but if it saves two soldiers it can have a huge ROI.

Only if that means they have a smaller army instead of giving that soldier some other task to perform.

In the short term the drivers would do other work. In the long term the army would adjust its recruitment around the ability to use more automation.

Re:How expensive are they? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010616)

Is that really how they think, or do they think "we need n thousand soldiers in our army"?

I do not know the answer, but I don't think they subscribe to the same line of thought that a corporate entity would use.

Re:How expensive are they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37010696)

ATM its more like we need n dozen brigades in our army.

Re:How expensive are they? (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 2 years ago | (#37012044)

The US Army is still using a peacetime number of troops (there have been temporary increases by 10's of thousands though). So the Army got around troop availability by trying to turn every soldier into a trigger puller instead of a paper pusher/laborer. There was a huge reduction in non-deployable engineers, mechanics, medics, drivers, clerical, judicial, and more. Many of those jobs are now civilian/contractor (i'm sure you've noticed the massive increase in contractors working for the army in recent years). Some entire national guard units have also been converted from low demand jobs like chemical engineers into high demand jobs like military police.

Put simply, the US Army can't just expand it's authorized capacity so it converts as many non-combat jobs into combat jobs as possible.

Re:How expensive are they? (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010166)

"are their cheaper than a normal truck + humans?"

What value do you place on human life?

It seems smaller than the MULE robotic vehicle that I saw on a Military Channel documentary, which could carry 2000lbs and had more adaptable suspension.

Re:How expensive are they? (0)

Warwick Allison (209388) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010292)

Perhaps the US military wouldn't care if they ran over a few Afghan civilian pedestrians, so you're referring to *American* humans that might be *saved* by driverless vehicles, yes?

Re:How expensive are they? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37010692)

a robotic vehicle could actually be safer in that respect. I remember hearing about how patrols that went out in the streets of Baghdad weren't allowed to stop for anything. If a kid stepped out into the street in front of the convoy and they couldn't go around him they were supposed to just honk and hope he got out of the way in time. This was to prevent ambushes from being set up in that fashion.

A robotic vehicle that will steer around a boulder in the road to avoid breaking an axle is a vehicle that will also avoid a person. No one is at risk either if it does get shot up so there's no reason to design it to drive in an aggressive manner like you might with a manned vehicle.

Re:How expensive are they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37010728)

Considering that their rules of engagement prioritize Afghan civilian life over the US soldiers', I would assume that they care about pedestrians as well. And seriously, would you design a vehicle that didn't have some sort of system against running over pedestrians? Besides, pedestrians could be soldiers as well. Why would the car differentiate between soldiers and civilians?

Re:How expensive are they? (0)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010316)

What value do you place on human life?

Depends on the humans. Foreign invaders, waging aggressive war on behalf of corrupt politicians and rich companies? Their value would be negative.

Re:How expensive are they? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37010684)

Negative value? So if someone assigns you a negative value according to their perceptions and value system, is it acceptable for them to kill you?

I can understand if you are bitter over current or past wars, but that does not justify devaluing human life.

Re:How expensive are they? (-1, Flamebait)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010830)

First and foremost, this is what they do in a war, kill people. Anyone in a military either accepts that he can, and should, die for whatever he is fighting for, or deludes himself.

In a war of aggression it also means that they kill people who never were a threat to them, and in Afghanistan they do it for a decade already. They have placed their lives outside of any sane value system. For all practical purposes they are monsters.

Re:How expensive are they? (2)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37011246)

You don't get to pick where you get deployed. People join the military for all kinds of reasons. Only the very top career military professionals have any input on what how or why. Even then it is our President and/or Congress who make these decisions.

I am absolutely certain that there is someone somewhere who is suffering as a result of you doing your job as requested by your employer. If you are self employed then it's probably you suffering. It may not be taking lives directly but there is always a "have not" to balance your "have".

Re:How expensive are they? (-1, Troll)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#37011408)

You don't get to pick where you get deployed.

You do get to pick a job that involves killing innocent people. There is no military draft in US now, all those people volunteered for this, all decided that it's OK to accept money, promise of education, etc. for participating in wars of aggression. That makes them valid targets (and war criminals -- war of aggression is a war crime, if you didn't know).

You don't get to pick where you get deployed. People join the military for all kinds of reasons.

And all those reasons are shit compared to a single death at the hands of those people.

Re:How expensive are they? (2)

thrich81 (1357561) | more than 2 years ago | (#37011630)

Shut up with the war criminal talk; it devalues the label when it actually happens. In a democracy, which the US is, the citiziens are ultimately responsible for the actions of their government and its military forces. So if you don't like those actions then try to change enough minds of the voters to change the national policies. If you can't do that and just can't stand the situation then you are just SOL (a term I picked up during my time on active duty); or you can renounce your citizenship and get out. But retaining US citizenship and calling my military acquantances "valid targets" is dangerously close to treason; if it could be proved that your talk led directly to a military casualty, I don't think the 1st Amendment would or should protect you.

Re:How expensive are they? (-1, Troll)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#37011946)

Shut up with the war criminal talk; it devalues the label when it actually happens.

No, it does not. War of aggression is a war crime. Deal with it.

Bradley Manning (0)

Blaskowicz (634489) | more than 2 years ago | (#37018450)

Bradley Manning was a soldier directly implicated in a systematic torture system, as his job was coming up with lists of people to arrest and dedain. He went much farther than claiming to be a valid target, he has basically forsaken his life, and betrayed his country so as to no longer commit these crimes and offer the world additional evidence of this war's horrors.

He knows about the lies and nefarious goals that started all that, and you know that too. We know the investigators of the war planned or are still planning further unprovoked wars, and have allegiance to powerful private corporations, not the US. The untold damages that were done, including the present results of unfinanced trillions of war spending, were done in the name of freedom of democracy, thus in your name. Democratic rules don't tolerate wars of agression, and it's your responsibility to prevent them, as well as sanction the economic and financial crimes which have been committed.

So here I believe we have a case of legitimate treason, a virtual mutiny done by data transfer through computer networks, if you wish. He chose Humanity over White House and Department of Defense. Claiming that soldiers are legitimate targets is benign next to that act, your job is actually defined by the acceptance of being injured or killed, or worse.

Re:How expensive are they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37013630)

I doubt I'm the first to bring this to your attention, but you should probably seek help.

Re:How expensive are they? (0, Troll)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010750)

A snide little, fuzzy-haired, self-styled intellectual who hasn't touch a boobie yet: not even human. Waging war? Someone has to do it. It isn't going to be you, so shut up when someone else does it.

Re:How expensive are they? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#37013366)

What value do you place on human life?

Is that an American life or an Afghani life? I think you've avenged 9/11 by about 200:1 so far...and the majority of those were civilians.

Clue: The best way to "save lives" is not by deploying these...

Re:How expensive are they? (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010294)

The real question is not so much is it better now, as will it be better later. The answer to the latter is almost definitely yes. The army is one of the few organizations that has the budget and will to exercise forethought for the future. And that helps develop technology. So while robots may not be effective now, thanks to the efforts of the military they might be 20 years from now. Which is why they spend so much money developing them now.

Re:How expensive are they? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37010390)

Or to be more precise, are their cheaper than a normal truck + humans? The US is definitely spending too much money on military. /p>

It doesn't matter. What matter is how well connected they are to the Republican party - Republicans - fuck the little guy - fool them with "Christian rhetoric" - lie to us - fight for the rich: fuck us middle class- Republican = liar - they are all liars, btw; it's just that the Republicans deserve more of my ire now!!!

Re:How expensive are they? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37010552)

Wait a moment, FDR was a Republican? I learn something new here every day.

Looting (1)

hardtofindanick (1105361) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010116)

Aren't they afraid of looting? I am afraid as soon as the locals learn these are not manned, they will start noticing the helicopters and loot the trucks once they are deployed.

Re:Looting (1)

Sepodati (746220) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010332)

These areintended for squad support, so there will always be someone around it. Autonomous just means no one has to be dedicated to drive the thing.

Re:Looting (1)

rednip (186217) | more than 2 years ago | (#37012888)

I suspect that squads deployed with this thing might be slightly larger to account for the requirement of 'protecting' a mobile base while projecting force into a place otherwise inaccessible to it. While the might not need to tell it exactly where to go most of the time, someone will always need to attend to it, and even though it looks nimble, it certainly won't go in many places which are otherwise accessible to the squad.

It's use will need to be carefully considered, but as our soldiers have modern armor, electronics, and batteries, as well as the 'old favorites' of food, weapons, and ammo, I'm sure that it would be a relief to off load some of it. A larger more stable platform is likely to stay in communication, but it's also more of a target (or perhaps the best thing to hide behind). If they build pack bots that are better at keeping up, such robots could be ubiquitous.

Seems to be a good line of tech to explore both for military and civilian uses, I hope that it works out well.

Re:Looting (1)

CtownNighrider (1443513) | more than 2 years ago | (#37014542)

You mean something like big dog? [wikipedia.org]

Re:Looting (1)

anexkahn (935249) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010362)

just because they are unmanned, doesnt mean they have to be unarmed

Re:Looting (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 2 years ago | (#37011976)

It's not looting, it's "finding food".

Secure? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37010198)

My first thought when I saw the picture of this was the possibility for some terrorist to just run up on the side of this vehicle, plant a bomb, and wait for the vehicle to enter an army base before detonating... I suppose that when it's unmanned there will be no one there to check if it's secure before it enters a base. And when there's no mounted gun turret the risk would be minimal...

Re:Secure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37011338)

It could be equipped with surveillance cameras to make sure it is safe when entering a base.

Who's connected (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37010210)

When a military contract is awarded, my only question is "who's connected"

Cynical? Yes. They're all corrupt and we peons take it in the ass - thank you Republicans

Yes, most of our problems are the Republicans fault;.

it's a rolling supply for the enemy! (1, Interesting)

loftwyr (36717) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010228)

I can see it now. Afghani soldiers wait until it drives by and then jump on, cut loose all the stuff and then jump off. Free everything!

So, you would need a patrol with it so you're saving one guy. Nice work for how many billion dollars each?

Re:it's a rolling supply for the enemy! (1)

lgarner (694957) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010478)

You have support troops in the convoy anyway.

Re:it's a rolling supply for the enemy! (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010772)

You have support troops in the convoy anyway.

So why not, uh, have them drive the vehicles and save some money?

Re:it's a rolling supply for the enemy! (2)

qxcv (2422318) | more than 2 years ago | (#37011970)

Is there anybody here that can RTFA? Oh well, the two main reasons I can think of (off the top of my head) are:
  1. 1. One less person with their hands on the steering wheel = one more person with their hands on a gun
  2. 2. If the vehicle hits an anti-vehicle mine, only the vehicle will be destroyed. If somebody is at the wheel, OTOH, the driver will be destroyed too

It may only be of limited utility (on foot patrols, etc) but, as mentioned above, a single life saved is a massive ROI both psychologically and financially.

Re:it's a rolling supply for the enemy! (2)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 2 years ago | (#37012042)

Take your 10 truck, 50 man supply convoy. Eliminate the 10 drivers, and increase the security detachment by 5. I just reduced manpower by 10%, and upped security by 12%. Lower costs, more secure - seems like a win-win all around.

Re:it's a rolling supply for the enemy! (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010518)

I can't help but thinking the Army must have thought of that problem.

Not sure what solution they thought of, but the easy one I come up with is to load explosives on the thing, so that anyone trying to remove items without knowing the code gets blown up.

Also, the US military tends to control the high ground (because they are easy to take and control.....in guerilla warfare, the weaker side has to hide in the large, but otherwise indefensible terrain). It is possible in many regions that they can guard the supply transit from a distance. The robot can survive snipers, so all they have to do is defend when people come close.

Re:it's a rolling supply for the enemy! (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010718)

It would have ir cameras and other sensors, so it would see them coming, If you have something like a claymore strapped to the side you could discourage the enemy somewhat.

Read any of the BOLO stories?

Re:it's a rolling supply for the enemy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016024)

Not sure what solution they thought of, but the easy one I come up with is to load explosives on the thing, so that anyone trying to remove items without knowing the code gets blown up.

You could have small explosives, to open up crates full of poisonous snakes. They could call it: "Snakes On A Supply Train".

(drumroll)

Re:it's a rolling supply for the enemy! (2)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010532)

You know the Afghani Soldiers are on our side right? Just checkin'

Re:it's a rolling supply for the enemy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37010658)

They're just pretending...

Re:it's a rolling supply for the enemy! (1)

cavePrisoner (1184997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37011820)

Really, the term "Afghan soldier" is kind of vague. In news reports, it usually means Afghan National Army. In a strict sense though, Taliban soldiers are [mostly] Afghan, and they are definitely soldiers. Sometimes the term "fighter" is used in place of "soldier" to indicate a Taliban soldier. I never liked this though. It feels like a cheap attempt to avoid the Geneva conventions.

Terminology aside, if you think the ANA or ANP or anybody in Afghanistan is above looting the shit out of free supplies, you're sadly mistaken. haha.

Re:it's a rolling supply for the enemy! (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 2 years ago | (#37012052)

I agree with you but i'd say that a soldier wears a uniform. A fighter would wear whatever.

Re:it's a rolling supply for the enemy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37020132)

You ignorant dollar! (assuming poster is USA citizen :)
You know "Afghani" is a unit of currency, right?
A citizen of Afghanistan is an "Afghan".

http://www.google.com/search?en&q=define+afghani

Re:it's a rolling supply for the enemy! (2)

adamchou (993073) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010778)

This thing isn't meant to be go on solo missions, especially since its only carrying half a ton. You definitely can't resupply an OP with just 1000 pounds of equipment. In fact, the article even says

Besides the obvious benefit of reducing the load carried by an infantryman (giving him more mobility and energy) the little trucks could be the first step toward reducing the number of humans needed to ressuply bases.

The benefit is reducing the load. Its primary mission is not at all to resupply bases.

Drones? (1)

kmdrtako (1971832) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010268)

If we can have drone aircraft, why not drone humvees?

A convoy of remote control humvees, followed by a couple of humvees full of troops to keep the locals from planting bombs, cutting the cargo off, etc.

With the added benefit of any IEDs in the road probably explode when the first or second humvee goes past, and the wetware in the back is relatively safe.

(No, I didn't read the article.)

Re:Drones? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010312)

If we can have drone aircraft, why not drone humvees?

Driving on a road requires way faster response times and feedback than flying through the air. Believe me, they would LOVE to have drone Hummers.

Re:Drones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37010338)

I tried to sell one to the CHP last year and they didn't think I was serious.

Re:Drones? (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 2 years ago | (#37012056)

you have a HMMWV to sell? i would gladly buy it, robotic or not.

Re:Drones? (1)

tokul (682258) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010346)

With the added benefit of any IEDs in the road probably explode when the first or second humvee goes past

Attack targets first and last vehicle in the column. When they are knocked out, others have nowhere to go. You don't have to RTFA, but you do need to learn basic tactics of RPG warfare.

Re:Drones? (1)

lgarner (694957) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010488)

IED != RPG

Re:Drones? (1, Troll)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010800)

The countermeasure would be to have Reapers escorting the robo-car convoy. Robots would be able to maintain perfect spacing to minimize the damage from daisy-chained IEDs. Shooting out the front and back only works if you have a way to destroy the vehicles trapped in the middle, which might be difficult to do when there's a Reaper firing Hellfires up your ass.

Even if they succeed in blowing up some supplies, at the end of the day, they're paying human lives while we're just burning money. They'll run out of people before we run out of money, especially we aren't spending human lives, which cost a lot in terms of benefits to survivors and medical care for the injured and disabled.

Look at it another way. Pretend we can maintain the war without putting humans at risk. We are going to spend at least a trillion dollars on this war. Even if we spend a million dollars to kill a bad guy, that's still a million dead bad guys.

Re:Drones? (1)

Rennt (582550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37011888)

They'll run out of people before we run out of money.

But that is the problem, isn't it? They haven't run out of people, and we have run out of money. Asymmetrical warfare can be a bitch like that.

We are going to spend at least a trillion dollars on this war. Even if we spend a million dollars to kill a bad guy, that's still a million dead bad guys.

And a smoking crater for an economy.

Re:Drones? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010524)

That's basically what this is, right?

Re:Drones? (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010574)

Because there are no self-propelled Taliban soldiers where the drone aircraft flies. Yet.

Can we replace all jeep drivers with robots? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010408)

Since the Jeep Wrangler is the official frat boy car, that shouldn't be too hard. They all have the same personality, drink the same beer, and listen to the same music.

How long (1)

Hamsterdan (815291) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010418)

Until we get COBRA B.A.T. s firing at us with those blue lasers with an extremely cool sound ?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YjfGex5JHY [youtube.com]

(I was really disappointed when I didn't hear that sound in the GI Joe hollywood movie)

No end to war (1, Flamebait)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010474)

And I bet many of you are wondering: what is up with all this spending on more war and having this debt problem all at the same time?

Nixon defaulted on the promise to pay gold for US reserve notes in 1971 to keep financing the war when France was actively trying to redeem their USD for gold. Now THAT was a real default. What they have today is a joke. But the wars must go on.

Wars must always go on. Robots must roll in the deserts of Afghanistan. Well, many they tried different types of wars in Afghanistan, I don't think they really tried this many robots before. Think it will work this time?

What can be more cool than robots in war, right? I guess the only thing that's even more cool is to have the Chinese finance it.

Re:No end to war (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010550)

Being prepared for war is expensive and dangerous. However the cost of not being prepared is much higher. This was only costs the US marginally more then if we were to just be prepared. Look it up. Also look up the casualties. Compare baseline numbers of both in non-war years to now. Ignore what is considered budget for the war. Just compare the total budgets from year to year. You'll find that the budget problem in the US actually has very little to do with the engagements in the middle east.

Re:No end to war (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010776)

Right, because Afghanistan was obviously going to attack USA and it needed to be stopped before it did. Or maybe the people who attacked USA were mostly in Saudi Arabia, not Afghanistan. But who cares about minute details, prepare for war.

Re:No end to war (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010786)

Being prepared for war is expensive and dangerous. However the cost of not being prepared is much higher.

True. Because if it wasn't for spending more on the military than the entire rest of the world who knows what country might declare war on America next week. The Bolivians could be in Washington by Thursday if America didn't have fifty aircraft carriers to stop them.

I can already see how to improve it (1)

subreality (157447) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010704)

It's kinda neat how it carries the soldier's stuff. But why not take it a step further and put some seats on it so it can carry the soldiers too? Of course, you'd want to then add a roof and windshield to keep the rain off. It'd be nice to add air conditioning to the troop area, so you'd want the option to fully enclose it, and really the best way is to just add some doors to the sides. Maybe some armor too, in case someone takes a pot shot at them. Then you could mount a big gun on top so they could shoot back without even having to dismount.

In all seriousness, I don't see where the "follow me" mode would be more useful than a HMMWV or a light APC. It won't have better terrain handling (I really doubt that it'll outperform a human driver when rock crawling), so you're limited to walking speed on easy to moderate terrain. Why not take a jeep instead? If it's to learn the route, just have someone hop on and drive it the first time through.

That's not to say I think it's useless. An unmanned cargo carrier would probably be very useful for shuttling stuff around. I just don't understand what role it'd fill as a close-follow pack mule.

Re:I can already see how to improve it (4, Interesting)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010790)

"In all seriousness, I don't see where the "follow me" mode would be more useful than a HMMWV or a light APC. "

It isn't. An M-113 derivative, the Lynx, can fit in a CH-47 and bring armored protection and a cannon to the fight. We got rid of them years ago because of light infantry narcissism where tracks are considered to be for "mech pussies". An improved version with the engine in front (the Lynx has it in back though M-113s have them up front) could fit more easily, carry more troops UNDER ARMOR, and carry plenty of supplies externally.

The turf wars between Light Infantry Narcissists and Treadheads led to the elimination of light and medium tracked armored vehicles, and modern Global Love Enforcement missions have a preference for wheeled armored trucks like Stryker. (They are comfortable, and compared to an ancient tracked fleet that is not modernized because most of the Army would rather not have it, no wonder the passengers prefer them.)

That's why the Sheridan is gone with no replacement and the AGS got cancelled. Real men don't want tank support or to admit tanks and AFVs are necessary or useful.

The reduced ground pressure and vastly better off-road performance of tracked systems are why many foreign forces retain them.

Wheeled vehicle ground pressure is quite high, restricting wheeled trucks to roads where they are canalized into a predictable path of travel then killed by mines and command-detonated mines (now called IEDs as if the idea is fucking modern, yay for buzzwords!).

Re:I can already see how to improve it (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 2 years ago | (#37012092)

I actually saw a lot of 113s in Iraq.. fresh paint jobs and everything. My guess is they took them out of boneyards and renovated them?

I do like your commentary on heavy vs light though. IMO (and i'll be flamed for this) big infantry was so balls slow they were practically useless. The only operations they seemed capable of was large cordon and search. Actually responding to an attack? hell no. QRF? not possible. It takes trucks and track to move troops into the fight. I think infantry is dead.. it's all mech inf now. Infantry without transportation is a huge waste. Not putting guns on that transportation is also a waste. Infantry need to remain tightly integrated to Armor.

Re:I can already see how to improve it (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37012500)

The 113s with fresh paint should be mostly A3s which are uparmored and have a more powerful powerpack. Look for the "wing tanks" on either side of the ramp to identify an A3. Getting the fuel tank out of the crew compartment was a huge step forward. (The 113 was originally designed for the atomic battlefield and meant to be small and light.)

Camp Shelby has literally thousands of A2s in war reserve so there are plenty to mod, and the design lends itself to modification which is why it's the most successful APC in history.

They have been fitted with hybrid powerplants, a go-fast version was even tested with two 460 Ford engines, and they have been chopped, channeled, stretched, and fitted with an amazing variety of ordnance.

I worked with a group which nearly got a shot at building a highly modded V-hull version to greatly reduce the mine problem, but the earmark ban killed that. There is an outfit which can fit 113s with a remote control option so they can be driven remotely or via the drivers station.

Unfortunately, BAE doesn't want to refit 113s when they can sell other systems, so tracks get back-burnered even though 113s were charging through rice paddies more than four decades ago. Good luck being that "expeditionary" with wheeled trucks. The only thing saving the 113 is the moribund FCS vehicle program is as fucked up as a football bat. The Army wants the excellent C4ISR features of FCS, and they CAN be fitted to the 113 despite bullshit claims otherwise.

Robo Jeeps are Go? (2)

hey! (33014) | more than 2 years ago | (#37010846)

So they've been assigned a Thunderbird 2 pod number?

The last 3 comments not worth responding too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37011066)

I was going to point out the fallacies of the last few comments but I've decided not to feed the trolls.

A quick read of the original article and a glance at the accompanying photo will allow anyone with a reasonable IQ to see it's intended use.

Taxpayers money hard at work (1)

tryptogryphic (1985608) | more than 2 years ago | (#37011522)

I have a problem with seeing things like this, in the midst of the largest deficit ever, and two wars that make Vietnam look like a high school baking class.

Cut funding for these bullshit wars, and let companies like GOOGLE develop this technology on and for use on American soil.

Shouldn't it go in front (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 2 years ago | (#37011690)

rather than follow the soldier ?

Two questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37012168)

1. If there's somebody standing in its way, will it run them down?
2. If there's somebody standing in its way, should it run them down? (Real drivers in war zones are supposed to in some cases.)

how much do these (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 2 years ago | (#37012368)

cost, what is their failure rate, how accurate are they, what is their energy consumption, are there known bugs, how secure are they...

these used to be things we did science on to determine the answer...now, thanks to perpetual war in 3-4 year
increments, actual science doesnt really need to be done. deliciously cheap graduate student labour provides
a 'base model' for the project and augmentation is made based on defense contracts and the latest war paint colour.
slap some logos on it and bobs your uncle: you're ready for combat ops. sure, these things might bowl over a house or a car
or straight through a daycare or mosque, but in reality its cheaper than a laboratory and to be honest,
the US doesnt count civilian casualties or pay out health insurance, retirement or disability to indigenous residents of
the latest token-war country for participating in what i can only assume is some morose version of science.

Missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37012588)

This is meant to carry equipment for a squad of soldiers on patrol. With a typical squad size it means carry the equivalent of 50kg per soldier which if nothing else will mean the troops will be much less tired than they would be carrying it themselves.

These vehicles clearly wont be off by themselves delivering cargo but will be acting more like pack mules trailing the patrolling squad.

Civilian uses (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015310)

This thing would be handy for shopping at Costco.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>