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The Future of Battle Tech

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the i-wouldn't-bet-the-farm-on-lightsabers dept.

The Military 122

PolygamousRanchKid tips a story about research into futuristic military technology currently being funded by DARPA. The Disc-Rotor Compound Helicopter 'is propelled by rotor blades that extend from a central disc, letting it take off and land like a helicopter. But those blades can also retract into the disc, minimizing drag and letting the Disc-Rotor fly like a plane, powered by engines beneath each wing.' The Vulture program aims to keep a plane in the sky for five years or more, and 'LANdroids' are pocket-sized robots which soldiers can scatter around urban areas to seed a communications network. FastRunner is a 'two-legged robot that can cover a moderately rough terrain as fast as the best human sprinters.' The article mentions the flying humvees we've discussed in the past, as well as projects for 'smart' binoculars and a method for recycling space junk.

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Misleading heading is misleading (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38400830)

I want to hear about recent ferro-fib developments leading to overall Steiner Scouting Party weight reduction as a means to increase troop transit efficiency against Davion forces.

Re:Misleading heading is misleading (5, Informative)

uncledrax (112438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400940)

Stop with your 3050 era stuff already.. I want low-tech Battle Tech (3025).. ..oh and LAMs.. definable need LAMs..

Re:Misleading heading is misleading (4, Funny)

mistapotta (941143) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401020)

r/DARPA/ComStar

And bring on the Fourth Succession War! [sarna.net]

Re:Misleading heading is misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401026)

I was thinking the same thing. Usually I like these military articles, but honestly this time I'm a little disappointed.

Re:Misleading heading is misleading (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401200)

isn't it weird that an M1 Abrams weighs 60 tons, but an Atlas battlemech weighs 100 tons?
I think they didn't calculate the battlemech's tonnage correctly...

Re:Misleading heading is misleading (2)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401248)

Sigh... you just have no understanding of 30th century materials science, do you? ;)

Re:Misleading heading is misleading (1)

tskirvin (125859) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401420)

How do ProtoMechs fit into this picture?

Re:Misleading heading is misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38403492)

They were banned from all tourneys as they were numerous, annoying, and rarely painted.

Re:Misleading heading is misleading (2)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401542)

Absolutely.
I still want my Shadowhawk

Re:Misleading heading is misleading (5, Funny)

AoF.Squall (818234) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402024)

I used to be a mechwarrior like you, then I took an LRM to the knee.

Re:Misleading heading is misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38405186)

wouldn't that be an arrow IV?

pointy sticks (3, Funny)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400838)

Going to be very big in future wars.
 

Re:pointy sticks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38400936)

DARPA needs to be defunded, we don't need to waste anymore $$$ in military tech.

Re:pointy sticks (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401156)

Yeah, who wants flying cars, high-speed aircraft, or rapidly deployed distributed wireless communications anyways?

Re:pointy sticks (4, Insightful)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401256)

I think you're suggesting the only way we could have these things is if DARPA comes up with them. There's some history behind you, but, seriously, peaceful civilian tech doesn't have to originate with the military.

Cars, aircraft, and wireless communications all originated outside the military. Wars are the worst possible reason for government funding of tech improvements.

Re:pointy sticks (4, Interesting)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401684)

Cars, aircraft, and wireless communications all originated outside the military. Wars are the worst possible reason for government funding of tech improvements.

Correct. But all those things were improved, and highly, by the military (jet engines, for instance). Wars are bad: but military research is not. DARPA doesn't fund wars, they only fund research. The war is a waste of money, time, and lives. The research is most certainly not, and one does not require the other. So, we can have our cake and eat it too.

Re:pointy sticks (2)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 2 years ago | (#38403256)

How about we research things we need directly instead of researching military technology and getting useful things as a side effect

Re:pointy sticks (2)

BlackRabbitWhite (2359384) | more than 2 years ago | (#38404118)

Question is how will all the useful things get their funding. There are also cases where you might not think of something as a "useful thing" until after it is in the discovery phase. Microwave ovens for instance, were based off of military research.

Re:pointy sticks (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 2 years ago | (#38404730)

Define need?

you see if you only go by what you need you would live in a log house, as you don't need hollow walls, those are useless.

the Military has needs, it needs to be able to communicate quickly, and securely, so they test and stress the systems thoroughly.

The military needs to move troops quickly. So it took trains and doubled the number of tracks in the civil war to improve troop transport. Later those tracks where then used by civilians.

Your needs are worthless. it takes a large organization with needs to push development, large organizations require large funding. Name one other large organization with a budget the size of any military budget?

The DOD could buy MSFT or google, and it would barely touch their cash.

Re:pointy sticks (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402020)

I think you're suggesting the only way we could have these things is if DARPA comes up with them. There's some history behind you, but, seriously, peaceful civilian tech doesn't have to originate with the military.

Cars, aircraft, and wireless communications all originated outside the military. Wars are the worst possible reason for government funding of tech improvements.

Unfortunately the private sector seems to find it harder and harder to see past the next quarters numbers. I agree that the worst reason to invent something is for carrying out a war. But much of what DARPA does would not be viable for the private sector. GPS comes to mind. We probably would not be on Slashdot either, if not for the military wanting to connect the Pentagon to SAC and Cheyenne mountain. I think DARPA's role is not so much to make killing more efficient as to make it scarier for enemies of the US to mount an attack. Of course the down side is when that tech gets used for first strikes.

Re:pointy sticks (2)

mekkab (133181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38404008)

And "Der Intertron" (read: the internet) was the direct result of ARPA/DARPA. And the civilian 'fallout' of the SAGE program (modems, etc.) and space program (my smooth cooktop is literally space-age technology) lead me to believe that gov't funded "races" (space race, arms race) have in actuality yielded results for the rest of us to the point where I can't see a private company with a 'publically minded' CEO providing anything similar for the greater good.

Re:pointy sticks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38404194)

I think you're suggesting the only way we could have these things is if DARPA comes up with them. There's some history behind you, but, seriously, peaceful civilian tech doesn't have to originate with the military.

Cars, aircraft, and wireless communications all originated outside the military. Wars are the worst possible reason for government funding of tech improvements.

aircraft were initially flown and developed by civilians, but most of the continued development was military.

wireless...hmm...much of that tech comes from Israel, initially,..cellular system was developed there, for example, but that was likely based on military tech being developed in Israel, where mil/civilian life is much more closely intertwined and tech moves quickly from military research to civilian application.

Re:pointy sticks (1)

grep_rocks (1182831) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402974)

The DARPA program mangers I have worked with tended to be at best clueless or at worst idiots who think our technology development roadmap should be driven by what they saw in movies, not based in our current understanding of science and engineering - I am not kidding - sure the idea of DARPA sounds great but they need some managers with real technical knowledge

Re:pointy sticks (5, Informative)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401278)

DARPA's total budget is miniscule, less than 0.4% of the US defense spending. Their lack of overhead is unheard of in government organizations, 140 highly educated and knowledgeable industry experts whose sole purpose is to identify technology that is several generations ahead of what anyone else is looking at and make sure it gets funded. Besides that, much of what they fund has serious civilian applications in addition to their military uses.

Some things that are being funded today with obvious civilian uses:
Reusable Launch Vehicle [wikipedia.org]
Artificial Intelligence [wikipedia.org]
Powered Exoskeleton [wikipedia.org]
Thought Controlled Prosthetic [wikipedia.org]
Brain Computer Interface [wikipedia.org]
Distributed Satellites [wikipedia.org]

PWEW PWEW PWEW! (2)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401838)

Don't forget nuclear isomer powered GRASER rifles. They're powered by Americanium .
Oh wait, that was swept under the rug as "junk science", right?

Anyhow, the military seems to be the our only institution left that's doing any forward thinking and planning past the next quarter. I'm hoping for some neato civilian spin-offs.

Re:PWEW PWEW PWEW! (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38403252)

Anyhow, the military seems to be the our only institution left that's doing any forward thinking and planning past the next quarter. I'm hoping for some neato civilian spin-offs.

If I were a billionaire, I'd "fritter away" my money doing forward-thinking seeing as how now one else except the military.

PHBs and MBAs would scoff but I'd be the one having lots of fun, and all the thousands of people I'd be employing to work on my hare-brained schemes. As the traditional corporations gradually cost-cutted themselves to death, I'd have invented the future.

Time for my special pills now...

Minuscule? (1)

Vegan Cyclist (1650427) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402888)

0.4% of upwards of a trillion bucks is still a ton of cash. I wish i had a minuscule amount of money in that case! ;)

Re:pointy sticks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401306)

That will make sense once you convince literally every single person on earth (including every new one born henceforth, forever) to permanently abandon all weapons research. Not one second before.

Re:pointy sticks (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401412)

We still want to kill the bad guys. Better tech helps us reduce the good guys we need to kill to get to the bad guys.

Fist to Fist Fighting. Ill punch you, if I am lucky I will do more damage to you then you will do to me.
Using the club, sward, pull-arm. I can hit you without injuring myself.
The Arrow and Guns. I will be able to hit you without being in range of you hitting me back. ...
The Bomb I can hit you and all your allies without me being near you.

now that we mastered killing your enemy we are now focusing on tools were we can save our friends and civilians who are not a threat.
 

Re:pointy sticks (1)

voidphoenix (710468) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402732)

The Bomb all your base are belong to us

FTFY :)

Re:pointy sticks (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 2 years ago | (#38404176)

> We still want to kill the bad guys
Define "bad guys." I really doubt that even 1% of the people we've killed in the last 50 years posed any threat at all to the territorial United States.

Re:pointy sticks (1)

Marc Madness (2205586) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401538)

Here here! Who needs silly things like the Internet anyway.

Re:pointy sticks (2)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38403432)

"DARPA needs to be defunded, we don't need to waste anymore $$$ in military tech."

"Return the internet you are using" and renounce all ARPA/DARPA tech in every form. :)

Re:pointy sticks (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401202)

Don't forget Bananas or the box of raspberries!

Re:pointy sticks (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401374)

What was the rogue-like where one could risk being chased by banans and where berries could have random, potion-like effect?

Re:pointy sticks (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401900)

Don't make me pull the lever and release the Bengal Tiger at you!!!

Re:pointy sticks (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401898)

“I don’t know what weapons will be used in world war three, but in world war four people will use sticks and stones.” – Albert Einstein

Re:pointy sticks (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38403518)

"âoeI donâ(TM)t know what weapons will be used in world war three, but in world war four people will use sticks and stones.â â" Albert Einstein"

That's adorable, but there are and will be many, many, many wars which are not Total War and lend themselves to using high tech to limit own-side casualties.

Regardless of your stance on war, the Iraq and Afghanistan squabbles have had very light casualties compared to wars where massive less-discriminate force HAD to be used because that was the only game in town.

Re:pointy sticks (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#38404654)

That's adorable, but there are and will be many, many, many wars which are not Total War and lend themselves to using high tech to limit own-side casualties.

And they will all be fought for the benefit of US corporations at everyone else's expense.

Re:pointy sticks (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38403622)

"Going to be very big in future wars."

They have always been big. Contemplate the vast number of "spear" and "rock" variations in modern weaponry.

DU "spears" can slice through two enemy tanks in one shot. Flechette rounds (little "spears") are fired against personnel in close combat.

There will be many future wars. That's human nature. They will happen and it is better to be ready than not. People aren't "reasonable" so it is necessary to slay them if negotiation won't work.

Re:pointy sticks (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 2 years ago | (#38404926)

I think the Battletech term is "cudgel".

BattleTech (5, Insightful)

TreyGeek (1391679) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400856)

Anyone else read the title and get excited that it was about the future of "BattleTech" the FASA war/board game?

Re:BattleTech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38400888)

... more interested in Earth Dawn.

Re:BattleTech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401462)

I'm still trying to figure out how 2750 would be different if we assume it is in continuity with Earthdawn and Shadowrun (and then port Crimson Skies to one of the Perifery States).

ComStar being run by Celdyr, Lowfyr owning most of the shipyards, Ares eventually splitting into about 1/3 of the weapon and 'mech manufacturers.

Then I realize that the Succession Wars would fit awkwardly well in time with the mass arrival of Horrors...

Re:BattleTech (1)

Captain Sarcastic (109765) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400926)

I'm ashamed to admit it, but yes.

I mean, the science on many of the stories in this universe is a little sketchy at times, but I can only paraphrase Napoleon from Time Bandits: "That's what I like... big robots blowing up!"

Re:BattleTech (3, Interesting)

d0hboy (679122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400954)

Anyone else read the title and get excited that it was about the future of "BattleTech" the FASA war/board game?

I also did a double-take. On a site featuring News for Nerds, the editors had to have guessed that the title as-it-stood would have caused a bit of confusion. The closest thing I found to the future of BattleTech(tm) in a quick spot-check of the news was the development of the Mechwarrior Online [mwomercs.com] Free to Play MMO'ish game.

Re:BattleTech (2)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400956)

Well Fan Pro has been reprinting a lot of the old books, but I was kind of interested in something new from them.

The fact that Battle Tech was 2 words was your only tip off.

Re:BattleTech (3, Informative)

Chas (5144) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402296)

No. FanPro has NOT been reprinting a lot of the old books. FanPro stopped being a going concern in BattleTech (or pretty much anything else) after they used FanPro USA as a piggy bank, then when the time came to renew the license, simply removed all the money from FanPro USA and closed up shop, leaving behind developers and other writers/authors who were owed sizable sums of cash.

Catalyst Game Labs are currently the people who have the license from Topps for BattleTech.

http://www.battletech.com/ [battletech.com]
http://www.catalystgamelabs.com/ [catalystgamelabs.com]

There's been a LOT of new material out of CGL in the last several years.

They've only recently completed integrating the Jihad and Dark Age era stuff (that was imposed by Whiz Kids) into the timeline as a congruent whole (as opposed to a couple text blurbs and some very loosely connected novels).

They're just filling in some "cracks" here and there, and then we'll be looking at some completely new development.

Essentially, since the closure of FASA, there have been two main developers on the BattleTech line.

FASA/FanPro/Catalyst: Randall Bills
Catalyst (Current): Herbert Beas (Former assistant line developer)

Re:BattleTech (4, Informative)

JohnnyMindcrime (2487092) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401032)

FASA... now there's a glorious name from the past.

Yep, I had the Battletech boardgame, played it more than a few times and loved it.

But the highlight of the FASA catalogue was definitely the Star Trek Tactical Combat Simulator, where you could pit all manner of Federation starships against all manner of Romulan and Klingon starships - *AND* have big sheets for each ship where you could boost your shield power, repair damage weapons and do emergency turns to bring certain weapon arcs to bear on the enemy. You could spend an entire evening playing what turned out to be about 2 minutes of real-time ship combat...

And FASA also did the Doctor Who RPG, I seem to recall.

Great days...

Re:BattleTech (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402322)

Uh no. You're thinking Starfleet Battles. [wikipedia.org]

FASA produced a Star Trek RPG.

Re:BattleTech (2)

kungfugleek (1314949) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401192)

Catalyst Game Labs [catalystgamelabs.com] are the people who hold the license for the board game right now, and are releasing the 25th anniversary box set something or other...

I mentally deleted the space in Battle Tech (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38400962)

Giant robots are the future.

Re:I mentally deleted the space in Battle Tech (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401706)

Giant robots are the future.

Teach them well and let them lead the way.

Look on (the Iranian Drone Hacking) bright side (2)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38400966)

Even if their story is true, that they jammed the communications to the drone and then spoofed the GPS so it made a landing where they wanted it, at least it didn't shoot at us. (Not so good would be the intact capture of stealth technology. Oh well).

Hopefully that incident will have made our military technologists MUCH more careful about security/jamming and ways our systems can be compromised. As we deploy systems much closer in reality to the T-1000 Terminator (sans human "skin") having them turn on us would probably be the worst of all possible outcomes.

Re:Look on (the Iranian Drone Hacking) bright side (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401092)

Naaaaw, that cannot possibly happen. Asimovs law.

LANdroids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38400976)

are a terrible idea from a security perspective.

"hey guys, let's give the enemy physical access to our network infrastructure. what could possibly go wrong?"

Awes08e fp (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401048)

posts. Therefore THe party in stre3t numbers continue [amazingkreskin.com]

MISSING ARE THE FOLLOWING: (3, Informative)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401050)

LSHAC

The Light Submersible Helo Aircraft Carrier

A submarine design to deploy up to four helicopters or two VTOL fighter jets. For use with strategically sensitive strikes.

The submarine can approach any coast an allow a pair of Marine strike fighter jets to attack a target, or allow up to four helicopters to deploy a special forces unit.

Why we need one of these. There is a ton of question as to whether our huge honking navy needs tons of surface ships and carriers. Will a battle really be waged at sea like it was of old. Or will these great carrier and cruiser fleets be wiped out within the first two days of surface combat?

A submersible light carrier can be used in the many less conventional wars we are fighting (ie: war on terrorism). The ability to strike any coastal region with almost zero warning is a very beneficial ability in today's conflicts.

RAIL GUN

Why not just fling a metal slug at unbelievable speeds with so much kinectic force that Microsoft would be jealous.

LASER ASSASINATOR

As seen in the movie real genius. Why send a strike force in for man like Osama bin Laden when you can simply cook him to a crisp from a satellite miles above in the sky.

Re:MISSING ARE THE FOLLOWING: (4, Informative)

jackbird (721605) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401186)

The Japanese had submarine aircraft carriers in WWII [wikipedia.org] , responsible among other things for the only aerial bombardment of the US mainland in history.

Re:MISSING ARE THE FOLLOWING: (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401244)

Britain built a submarine aircraft carrier shortly after WWI. After it sank they decided it was probably a bad idea and didn't build another one.

Re:MISSING ARE THE FOLLOWING: (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38404084)

. . . maybe they decided the aircraft carrier was also a submarine . . . after it sank . .

Re:MISSING ARE THE FOLLOWING: (2)

gknoy (899301) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401282)

I believe that Orbital Lasers (and other orbital weapons) are banned by international treaties.

Re:MISSING ARE THE FOLLOWING: (1)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402524)

That's only in polite wars. Everyone knows once war begins, such treaties are about as meaningful as a pinch of salt in the ocean.

Re:MISSING ARE THE FOLLOWING: (1)

I Read Good (2348294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38404728)

Actually... [wikipedia.org] "The system is not prohibited by either the Outer Space Treaty nor the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty."

Re:MISSING ARE THE FOLLOWING: (1)

I Read Good (2348294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38404736)

Comment was meant for GP. My bad.

Re:MISSING ARE THE FOLLOWING: (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 2 years ago | (#38403356)

Things being banned by international treaty has never stopped the US before....

Re:MISSING ARE THE FOLLOWING: (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401376)

The Navy is working on the Rail gun. DARPA generally works on things that are way, way out technologically (to get closer to them). Rail guns are already working, just not quite at combat-usefulness yet.. LSHAC is possible, but submarines don't work very well for things that a) really, really don't like being underwater, and b) are really big. Also, helos are really rather easy to shoot down, and have incredibly limited speed and therefore also range, making them more useful for land deployment. Or for ASW on the sea, which is probably their largest use from carriers. SEAL teams can deploy from subs, and those are almost better than helos against terrorists in any case.

And lasers aren't terribly practical when fired from space, due to atmospheric distortion. That was researched 20-30 years ago, so again not something DARPA would be involved in. Also, powering them is an issue, since no one likes nuclear reactors in LEO.

Now, dropping tungsten rods from space: that, they would research.

Re:MISSING ARE THE FOLLOWING: (1)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402594)

And realize my post was half for fun, half tongue in cheek. I do believe there would be an advantage of the submersible strike carrier.

My reasoning for the idea is largely for units like SEAL teams. To extend their range and self-extraction ability.

Yes, can't wait to see a full test of a combat ready rail gun.

The tungsten rod is a pretty cool idea.

Lasers have advanced a lot. We now use them in full atmosphere. I am sure we could build one that was affective at scrambling a human's brains. Maybe just a very focused microwave beam.

Re:MISSING ARE THE FOLLOWING: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401458)

As for the rail gun, they are already using one - to launch airplanes. The newest air craft carriers use a rail gun to launch and catch the airplanes as opposed to the steam based catapults.

Of high importance is the variable thrust. Steam catapults can't throttle down that much. They are either on or off. The rail guns can be throttled down to launch or receive smaller aircraft.

Re:MISSING ARE THE FOLLOWING: (1)

radtea (464814) | more than 2 years ago | (#38403350)

For use with strategically sensitive strikes.

That sentence is so thickly slathered in euphemism I don't have a clue which type of killing what people under which circumstances you actually mean.

The only things I'm sure of are a) you're talking about killing people and b) you aren't making it clear that you are talking about killing people.

Why use the Artist's impression? (1)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401106)

I've seen the flying Hummingbird on Mythbusters, why the hell do we need to see an artist's impression?

Part 2, why are they calling them "impressions" artists do renderings and concept art, only French artists that died a while back did impressions, they had a whole art movement, what was it called...

Urban warfare - about time. (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401230)

I hope the first deployment is wall street, with loud speakers blaring 'money for nothing' as they napalm Goldman Sachs.

Oh to dream.

Landroids look like the best bet (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401322)

VTOL have a bad history.

Vulture looks like a waste - you want something up forever, use a satellite.

Chembots look like a minimal advantage.

Falcon is a cheaper rocket.

Two legged robots are needlessly complicated

Satellite recovery is a big deal - but is very hard to do.

Shrike is already doable, but has limited range which means people in danger have to be looking at a screen. No. Soldiers in battle keep their eyes peeled, not on a screen.

The CT2WS system looks like a pipe dream. If it is possible, it is not likely to be very effective

Nav is like the Shrike, only smaller.

But the landroid is doable and practical. Leave little things behind to extend the radio range of all the other devices. Throw in a microphone on them and you get a nice little spynetwork that you can access from a large distance away - safe and secure back in the base.

Re:Landroids look like the best bet (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401612)

Actually, satellites suck for observation. People know where they are, it is very well known when they pass overhead of a sensitive area, and retasking them is a huge undertaking that can be done only a limited number of times. If there'd be something that the military could put up at a moments notice, keep up for a near infinite time and control in real-time what it is looking at, they'd do so in a heartbeat.
And the reason they want 2-legged robots (or any multi-legged version) is because wheels are very limited in their capability for crossing rough terrain. Multi-legged robots of all sizes are another wet dream for the military - primarily because boots on the ground becomes metal feet on the ground.

Re:Landroids look like the best bet (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402916)

But the landroid is doable and practical. Leave little things behind to extend the radio range of all the other devices. Throw in a microphone on them and you get a nice little spynetwork that you can access from a large distance away - safe and secure back in the base.

Also gives you fire triangulation.

Fastrunner, eh? (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401406)

Looks like that mini Metal Gear that showed up in the third installment of the Solid series.

LANdroid? (2)

cultiv8 (1660093) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401432)

So many trademark infringements, so little time...

Disc-Rotor vs. Slowed Rotor? (2)

fgouget (925644) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401524)

I wonder what advantages a disc-rotor helicopter has over a slowed-rotor [cartercopters.com] helicopter.

Re:Disc-Rotor vs. Slowed Rotor? (1)

hAckz0r (989977) | more than 2 years ago | (#38403762)

The disk itself can act like a wing to lift the vehicle at higher speeds. A stalled/slowed rotor creates drag with very little lift, so it requires a separate wing to stay aloft. In this case the disk is that wing. That being said, the disk creates drag against the 'lift' vortex currents as it is taking off. Since it isn't going to hover for long that is probably a design trade off. In that case Its not going to do close ground support very well.

Killbot fauna (2)

KBehemoth (2519358) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401528)

BigDog [youtube.com] , RoboCheetah [pcmag.com] , now this ostrich thing. Imagine herds of these just roaming the earth after the nuclear armageddon / pigbirdhorse flu armageddon, scavenging for fuel and occasionally blasting each other to smithereens. What will the alien archaeologists think?

Get DARPA Funding by following this 1 rule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401566)

We now redirect you to your regularly scheduled work at home scam.

Just ensure no RQ170 like GPS vulnerability (1)

youn (1516637) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401726)

No matter how fancy the tech, how many buzzwords... if it can be fooled by inexpensive off the shelf equipment by the opponent, then not sure how useful the equipment really is

Re:Just ensure no RQ170 like GPS vulnerability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38402512)

I used to be a part of the intelligence community and unfortunately you just described every single high tech intelligence gathering piece of equipment. Each and every one can be defeated, on the cheap. That's the precise reason the true capabilities, and how the equipment really works is kept classified.
 
  Even though that's the case the stuff built decades ago is still active and useful. So is it worth the cost? I would say yes.

the future of war (3, Insightful)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401728)

dead civilians

shattered families

PTSD

horrific injuries

rape and torture

oh wait, EVERY war is about that. EVERY war is the same. EVERY war profiteer and war-welfare-queen is also the same.

Re:the future of war (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38402886)

War. War never changes.

Re:the future of war (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38404216)

However the higher tech has allowed the number of civilians affected to be dramatically decreased. For example the more precise targeting allows for the use of single bombs, and/or bombs with smaller payloads. Compare Baghdad 2003 to Berlin 1945.

Re:the future of war (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38404898)

damn republicans.

I was looking forward to some news . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401808)

regarding advances in myomer technology!

Most of these machines are ironic... (2)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402044)

http://www.pdfernhout.net/recognizing-irony-is-a-key-to-transcending-militarism.html [pdfernhout.net]
"Military robots like drones are ironic because they are created essentially to force humans to work like robots in an industrialized social order. Why not just create industrial robots to do the work instead?"

I know I sound like a broken record on this... But we really need a new intrinsic/mutual definition of security arising from "A Newer Way Of Thinking" like Albert Einstein called for if we are to survive all the technological power we are creating in the 21st century:
http://anwot.org/ [anwot.org]

To go with the newer way of thinking, then we need different sorts of machines... Thinks like 3D printers of everyone, or solar panels for all, or advanced "AutoDoc" medical systems, or organic gardening robots, or plenty of other similar things where we use our technological knowledge to make abundance for all -- instead of using advanced technologies of abundance like robotics to fight over scarcity, or worse, create artificial scarcity. Still, DARPA has made contributions to some of these, so that's a good thing.

Furure Battle Tech... (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402072)

easily defeated by Iranians spoofing GPS signals.

We're doomed... (1)

Temujin_12 (832986) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402328)

A flying humvee with retractable rotor blades which can seed an area with a network of smaller robots all while staying in the air for 5+ years?!

God help us all!

Oh - darn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38402362)

I thought this was gonna be about the tabletop miniatures game from FASA...

The future of battle tech (2)

nimbius (983462) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402592)

is what is has always been: death. thirty years ago we cloaked the cold war in 'tech' in the hopes it would be the solution to a horrific conflict caused by humankind, and all it served to do was amplify the tone of that conflict, to push us ever closer to the precipice. in the nineties we did the same thing with guided ballistics and slaughtered countless innocents in our zeal to decree global weapons superiority in the balkans. In iraq we developed the latest, the greatest, the drones, and with a moral superiority not seen since the 1600's we proudly declared our mission accomplished as millions of iraqis died in the streets and not a single predator stood by to prevent the atrocities at abu grahib..

so let me reiterate, the future of battle tech is a bleached-white skull rotting in the latest theatre of the most righteous conflict at the hands of the most just nation it is the carbonized ashes of a house of innocents, and the eviscerated corpses of scores as they flee from an enemy that cannot be reasoned with not because it is incapable as a machine, but because its masters stopped caring long ago.

Re:The future of battle tech (1)

carpefishus (1515573) | more than 2 years ago | (#38403652)

"...all it served to do..." was take the wall down, disassemble the soviet union....

Re:The future of battle tech (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#38404800)

Nope.

It did not hurt Soviet Union a single bit because instead of having a military-industrial complex that fleeced the rest of society, it operated as a giant nonprofit.
There are plenty of things to criticize about Soviet Union, first and foremost that it could be dissolved by an arbitrary decision made by three politicians, but US-originated propaganda formulas have nothing to do with it. Cold war was a rock that keeps tigers away, and now US is desperately looking for more tigers.

FASA owns the copyright on BattleTech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38402960)

I vote for FASA to send a SOPA order to the DoD to take down their infringing weapons.

Better make sure it uses only Military GPS! (1)

jerryjnormandin (1942378) | more than 2 years ago | (#38403914)

They are just gonna mess this up. I can't believe the Drones don't have a self destruct system. First off military GPS radios have a specific password seeded handshake in order for the gps to process the beacon signals. If the authentic handshake is not there the signal is ignored. maybe the drone was a disposable device so military gps wasn't used. I think in that case it would have been easy to build a smart receiver. GPS signals are week. if the beacon is strong then the autopilot should ignore gps signals and use standard inertia guidance to get out of harms way. Also a self destruct would be a nice feature.

Sure it's cool, but... (1)

JosephTX (2521572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38404798)

Is this stuff really hundreds-of-billions-of-dollars cool? We live in a pretty backwards country when technological innovation is about killing and oppressing instead of healing and entertaining. Every bomb or shiny gun or automated robot our military makes is being made for the sole purpose of killing or oppressing someone else, and nobody cares because those tragedies are happening in a mythical little place called "the rest of the world."
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