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War By Remote Control, With Military Robots Set To Self Destruct

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the if-you-hear-buzzing-it's-too-late dept.

The Military 144

New submitter RougeFive writes "A new wave of Kamikaze unmanned military aircraft, ground robots and water vessels are being built to deliberately destroy themselves as they hit their targets. Since it now makes more economic sense to have them crash into enemy targets rather than engage them, and since direct impact needs only manned or automated navigation rather than the highly-trained skills of multiple operators, these UAVs could well become the de-facto method of engagement of the future."

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I think I've heard of this kind of warfare before (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40930121)

I believe they're called 'missiles'

Re:I think I've heard of this kind of warfare befo (1)

Lucky_Norseman (682487) | about 2 years ago | (#40930153)

V1 from WWII is probably closer.
The so called Flying Bomb had wings and a jet engine and it exploded on impact.

Re:I think I've heard of this kind of warfare befo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40930193)

Making them a predecessor of Cruise Missiles

Re:I think I've heard of this kind of warfare befo (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40930807)

what scientology have weaponised him now?

Re:I think I've heard of this kind of warfare befo (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#40931333)

Herr Hitler! Herr Docktor Von Braun has a BRILLIANT machine, to extend and preserve your thousand-year reich!

Really, tho.

Re:I think I've heard of this kind of warfare befo (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40930369)

V1 from WWII is probably closer.

Not exactly. The V1 wasn't designed as a recoverable vehicle. The UAV was. The difference is that the guys who built the V1 didn't want to push it as a disposable vehicle to make millions and millions more for themselves (e.g. contractor buddies) as the V1 was already a disposable vehicle.

Re:I think I've heard of this kind of warfare befo (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 2 years ago | (#40931385)

The difference is that the guys who built the V1 didn't want to push it as a disposable vehicle to make millions and millions more for themselves (e.g. contractor buddies) as the V1 was already a disposable vehicle.

That sentence doesn't make much logical sense. "The guy that built it didn't want to make it disposable because it was already disposable". Er, the guy that built it presumably was pretty free to design whatever he wanted prior to having built it, because after all he was the guy that was building it. Perhaps a more accurate perspective includes the fact that digital computers did not exist in that time period - apart from ENIAC; but ENIAC was a little too big to fit inside any aircraft. Gyros and analog computers were good enough to get close to a target, but nowhere near accurate enough to bring a vehicle back after a "bomb run". For that you needed a different analog computer, called a "pilot". But if you're making a manned craft that can dispense ordinance and return, one already exists, it's called a "bomber".

Re:I think I've heard of this kind of warfare befo (2)

DeathToBill (601486) | about 2 years ago | (#40930377)

One of the key differences here is the electrical propulsion. It means the thing's heat signature is quite hard to differentiate from the background. A V1 or a modern missile has a big, hot jet (or rocket) exhaust at the back, which is easy to detect. If someone launches a stinger (or similar) at you, the usual way of detecting it is from its heat signature. These things, on the other hand...

It's hard to imagine a current missile counter-measure that would be effective against one of these things. Since it's pumping out RF at a fairly high rate for its data comms, it's not that hard to imagine how to develop one, but for now they're pretty hard to counter.

Re:I think I've heard of this kind of warfare befo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40930513)

One of the key differences here is the electrical propulsion.

I fail to see how the method of propulsion has anything to do with what we're discussing in this thread, which is the self-destruct ability of the vessel. The OP pointed out that we already build such systems, namely missiles.

Re:I think I've heard of this kind of warfare befo (1)

Zcar (756484) | about 2 years ago | (#40930701)

With multiple propulsion systems, such as turbo jets, ram jets, solid fuel rockets, and liquid fuel rockets. Since modern torpedoes are pretty much underwater missiles, add in various methods (including electric) to drive propellers and pump jets.

Nothing new.

Heck, if you want something which looks something more like a plane check out the Kettering Bug, a WWI-era US Army cruise missile: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kettering_Bug [wikipedia.org]

Re:I think I've heard of this kind of warfare befo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40930785)

There are more than simple heat guided defense systems out there friend.

Have you ever heard about something called RADAR? Or LASER?

Countermeasures? Easy! (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 2 years ago | (#40931657)

It's hard to imagine a current missile counter-measure that would be effective against one of these things.

How about a large net extended to cover a potential target. Missile hits net. Missile gets tangled in net. Missile never hits target.

Cost of missile: several $million. Cost of net: a few bucks

Re:I think I've heard of this kind of warfare befo (2)

Teresita (982888) | about 2 years ago | (#40930429)

Pulse jet, a prop job could intercept and knock it down. Problem is, it was already on it's way down somewhere, all they ended up doing was knocking ot down somewhere else, where it still exploded.

What's old is new? (4, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 years ago | (#40930183)

I do believe that you're right. 'Guided Missiles' specifically.

I guess the difference here is that the UAV can do more than just head to a target for destruction, and CAN be recovered intact for reuse if the operator doesn't chose to detonate it. A cruise missile was launched at a specific target. This you could launch for recon then use destructively if a target of opportunity pops up.

A Missile+, perhaps.

Re:What's old is new? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40930247)

So like a Predator drone but carrying one warhead and not in the slightest bit reusable?

Re:What's old is new? (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#40930313)

I think you missed the point. If they don't wish to detonate it then it is reusable, which is not true of a missile.

Re:What's old is new? (2)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 2 years ago | (#40931767)

Great idea. Fire off a missile with an HE head. Decide en-route that you didn't really mean it, after all. Fly large, explosive missile back to your own launch site. Watch friendly ground forces scatter as weapon approaches.

Brings a whole new element to "friendly fire"

Re:What's old is new? (4, Insightful)

schlachter (862210) | about 2 years ago | (#40930929)

Planned obsolescence. The optimal design for an defense company is one that must constantly be replaced.

Re:What's old is new? (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 years ago | (#40931099)

That's the thing about defense stuff - there's no NEED to build stuff that needs to be replaced. Build it as tough as you like, the military will still manage to break it.

Putting the grenade level explosives into a small drone is accepted because it gives additional capacity at a cost lower than a dedicated platform.

Re:What's old is new? (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 2 years ago | (#40931305)

Cannon balls called, citing prior art.

Re:I think I've heard of this kind of lard before (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40930191)

Maybe we can have fat chicks piloting them?

Yes, fat chicks. Their enormous mass will add to the kinetic energy of the impact - for once their mass will be useful!. They will be celebrated as heroes (heroines?) back home for their sacrifice. And let's face it, there's nothing more unwanted than a fat chick. This will finally be a use for them which should give them lots of self-esteem for once.

See it's win-win-win all around!

Re:I think I've heard of this kind of lard before (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40930207)

waste of perfectly good fat chicks.

have one lay their tits on you - it's a wonderful experience.

Re:I think I've heard of this kind of lard before (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40930371)

Yeah, it's a great experience. Once I even found a a bonus Cheeto that had been lost in the fold. It wasn't very crunchy anymore, but it tasted okay.

Re:I think I've heard of this kind of lard before (0)

somersault (912633) | about 2 years ago | (#40930409)

I don't think it's worth having your skeleton crushed and/or suffocating. Women of a healthy weight can also have wonderful tits.

Re:I think I've heard of this kind of lard before (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40930767)

that will necessitate a load of fuel for the increased tonnage.

This is a horrible idea

Re:I think I've heard of this kind of lard before (1)

Rei (128717) | about 2 years ago | (#40931229)

Maybe we can have fat chicks piloting them?

Using chicks doesn't work. You have to wait until they're fully grown [wikipedia.org] .

No, they are called Screamers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40930691)

n/t

Re:I think I've heard of this kind of warfare befo (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | about 2 years ago | (#40930805)

Slightly closer would be "cruise missiles".

Also "torpedos" fit for waterborne weapons of this type.

Re:I think I've heard of this kind of warfare befo (1)

camperslo (704715) | about 2 years ago | (#40930901)

I believe they're called 'missiles'

Or people could have merged wireless toys with tractors.

They'd be a bit much for crowd-control (Soylent-Green style) but might be helpful in scraping up nuclear messes?

There's nothing like a vehicle that can make its own parking space.

Re:I think I've heard of this kind of warfare befo (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#40931195)

If you read the article, most of it is actually about underwater drones that go out hunting for mines - hardly something missiles are good for.

Suicide Bombers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40931299)

They also used to be called suicide bombers it is just that the CPU has been changed.

Re:I think I've heard of this kind of warfare befo (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#40931525)

I thought it was called The Redeemer :-P

You mean... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 2 years ago | (#40930137)

You mean something like a version of wired-guided missile [wikipedia.org] but over WIFI and more expensive?

Re:You mean... (3, Interesting)

radtea (464814) | about 2 years ago | (#40930213)

but over WIFI and more expensive?

Like autonomous and more expensive, although there's no need for them to be. Smart rocks will soon be almost as cheap as dumb rocks, if enough stupid people with technical educations are let loose.

For the people who feel like killing people is a good way to spend their time and use their education: please use plain language to describe what you do. "Method of engagement" is a coward's way of saying "means of killing people and destroying things."

Take the extra time to use the extra words that actually describe what you're using your incredibly sophisticated abilities for, and don't hide behind euphemisms like some prim Victorian virgin who doesn't have the guts to say she wants a good hard fucking.

Re:You mean... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 2 years ago | (#40930437)

"Method of engagement [wikipedia.org] "...prim Victorian virgin who doesn't have the guts to say she wants a good hard fucking.

Ummm.... I see what you did here.

Re:You mean... (2)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 years ago | (#40930717)

"Method of engagement" is a coward's way of saying "means of killing people and destroying things."

It's quicker to say though, and there are ways you can engage without killing people and destroying things. Rubber bullets and tear gas is still a 'method of engagement', as is cyber-attacks, graphite bombs over power substations, leaflets, etc...

The navy uses port and starboard not just to be different. They use it because it means 'left and right' absolutely for the ship, and can't be confused for the sailer's left and right.

Re:You mean... (2)

lerxstz (692089) | about 2 years ago | (#40930909)

Where's my mod points when I need 'em.

This is one thing that really disgusted me about engineering. A good bunch of people in my classes at the time wanted to go and build weapons systems. I doubt any of them actually did end up doing that, but for so called educated people to have the desire to do that in the first place is...puzzling.

bombs with non-traditional locomotion... (3, Insightful)

ethanms (319039) | about 2 years ago | (#40930169)

Sounds like they're simply missiles/bombs with non-traditional methods of locomotion.

In the scheme of things it's an easy sell, because they'll say "hey, we either send in the smart bomb and use lower yields and more accurate target detection, or we level the place".

Like any weapon the trick will be using them to only injure those that you specifically want to injure. Getting lazy, sloppy or inhuman with these things will be the same as with any other type of weapon.

My biggest fear with these UAV's is that we take the human factor out. I'm not talking about a human's ability to not kill innocent people--we know that is subjective--I'm talking about the military's decisions to carry out certain types of strikes when we literally have no "skin" in the game. It's already an issue with super accurate missiles and current generation of UAV's, these roomba-bombs may only make it worse.

Re:bombs with non-traditional locomotion... (3, Insightful)

ethanms (319039) | about 2 years ago | (#40930245)

...and of course we don't want to ever forget the lessons learned from the Terminator franchise or to a lesser degree RoboCop... which is that total automation of these devices can just as easy be turned back on you or your populations.

Re:bombs with non-traditional locomotion... (2, Interesting)

jpmorgan (517966) | about 2 years ago | (#40930627)

What lessons? They're fiction. History can teach lessons, but fiction, especially science fiction, is speculation. I suppose Atlas Shrugged teaches important lessons about philosophy, and KSR's Mars Trilogy proffers valuable insight into economics?

The idea that fiction can teach important "lessons" is one of the worst popular ideas I know of. Usually when people say stuff like that, they really mean only the lessons they agree with.

Re:bombs with non-traditional locomotion... (1)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about 2 years ago | (#40930791)

Could we go with "warning"?

Re:bombs with non-traditional locomotion... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40931033)

agree with jpmorgan... the only lessons learned from the Terminator/Robocop franchise is they've all had one or two sequels too many!

good point regarding the usual motive behind the lessons learned from works of fiction. Heck, certain media channels twist actual events into reports that they agree with before broadcasting it

Re:bombs with non-traditional locomotion... (1)

Jacksgotskills (2682165) | about 2 years ago | (#40931691)

It seems to me that history is quite a lot of fiction...

Re:bombs with non-traditional locomotion... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40931047)

Are you saying that fiction can't be predictive?

http://web.archive.org/web/20010123230000/www.theonion.com/onion3701/bush_nightmare.html

Re:bombs with non-traditional locomotion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40930757)

It has been quite some time since the US had an all out war. But when we get into real wars we take out civilians quite deliberately. We also take out the structure of civilisation itself. Disrupt sewage so that the public morale gets the stink. Disrupt power supplies so that employment and weapon building comes to a halt. Break the morale of soldiers by eliminating their home towns and families. Knock out communications so that the public supposes things are worse than they actually are. Knock out roads and rails and isolate areas to prevent communities aiding each other. Use tactics such as the fire bombing of Tokyo and Dresden to make the destruction vivid.
                      Only in our non-declared wars such as Vietnam which was classified as a police action do our tactics become less violent. Currently in the middle east we are no waging war as such. We are killing enemies but at the same time we are doing nation building which is why we have spent so may years, lost so many soldiers, and spent a king's ransom against a rather trivial opposing force.
                        The kinder, gentler way of war may be more moral but I'm not certain it is good for our nation at all. Iran is an example. We don't know what it will take to correct Iran. They declare violent intentions. One nuclear strike could change all of that. Or we could wait and find out how crazy they really are.

Re:bombs with non-traditional locomotion... (1)

CommieLib (468883) | about 2 years ago | (#40930919)

Boomba?

Re:bombs with non-traditional locomotion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40931005)

... these roomba-bombs

... in today's over dramatized media infused world, I got a mental picture of my hardworking, yet underappreciated roomba dropping it's daily task of sweeping up after me as it reads the draft letter to participate in the war... chances of it returning? Slim to none.

Re:bombs with non-traditional locomotion... (1)

Rei (128717) | about 2 years ago | (#40931269)

these roomba-bombs may only make it worse.

Gee, thanks a lot for leaking that, Julian. Now we've got to scrap our entire Roomba bomb program and start from square one...

Re:bombs with non-traditional locomotion... (1)

glebovitz (202712) | about 2 years ago | (#40931361)

I know what you mean. Nothing is more important than a weapon that cleans carpets prior to killing the enemy.

Re:bombs with non-traditional locomotion... (1)

gregg (42218) | about 2 years ago | (#40931479)

I know what you mean. Nothing is more important than a weapon that cleans carpets prior to killing the enemy.

I don't know. I think it would be preferred to have a weapon that cleans up AFTER killing the enemy. Bodily fluids can stain if left to set.

Re:bombs with non-traditional locomotion... (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 2 years ago | (#40931329)

The purpose of war is to have as little skin in the game as possible.

The purpose of traditional "duelling" is ritual combat.

One thing is not like the other.

Really this is copying the Muzzies, apart from (-1, Troll)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#40930201)

Really this is copying the Muzzies, apart from the unmanned bit. They have been attacking with boats [wikipedia.org] , trucks [wikipedia.org] , and of course aircraft [wikipedia.org] for years.

Re:Really this is copying the Muzzies, apart from (1)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about 2 years ago | (#40930811)

Well, at least you capitalized your bigoted slur.

Re:Really this is copying the Muzzies, apart from (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40931107)

When they begin to act human, they will get terms appropriate for a human.

You mean like missiles? (2)

vawwyakr (1992390) | about 2 years ago | (#40930221)

Granted I assume these are more sophisticated than traditional missiles and now it seems they'll be land based as well but still these are missiles that phone home.

Re:You mean like missiles? (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 years ago | (#40930941)

I'd argue that they're quite a bit less sophisticated than even the missiles of the 1980's, which transmitted all sorts of information on the way to their target, could do terrain evasion, etc...

The real difference is that key bits of technology has gotten cheap enough that rather than firing a $10M+ cruise missile, you can have a remote piloted vehicle that transmits back video and other information for under $10k. A fraction of even the cost of a guidance package for a gravity bomb.

Instead, they've gotten drone/remote piloting tech to the point that a cheap package allows you to pilot out of sight, not worry too much about somebody overriding your control, get useful video back, etc... Then gotten said package cheap enough that including a grenade's worth of explosives is still financially viable in certain circumstances.

Pros and Cons (3, Insightful)

DeathToBill (601486) | about 2 years ago | (#40930223)

They rely on a very developed infrastructure. This is true of all drones, of course, but I think it's a problem being widely overlooked. It's okay so long as you're fighting insurgents in Pakistan and Afghanistan; once you're fighting someone with the ability to disrupt your communications infrastructure then half your weapons become useless. And once you're fighting someone with a weapon that can target radio emissions they become downright dangerous...

It seems to me that the main development that has enabled these is battery technology. The idea of drones is not new. The idea of Kamikaze aircraft is not new. What is new is a small, quiet kamikaze drone that doesn't have a significant heat signature because suddenly batteries are good enough to keep one flying long enough to be useful.

RSB (2)

cvtan (752695) | about 2 years ago | (#40930243)

Robot Suicide Bombers

RHB (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40930511)

Robot Homicide Bombers

FTFY

Re:RSB (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40930681)

Or, Civilian Suicide Bombers.

Re:RSB (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40930985)

Sorry, but if you have access to Bombs you are NOT a civilian.

Again: If you work daily and pay your bills you are a civilian... if you have a Bomb you are NOT a civilian.

Got it?

Re:RSB (1)

cduffy (652) | about 2 years ago | (#40931043)

Sorry, but if you have access to Bombs you are NOT a civilian.

So a high school chemistry set is all I need to become an enemy of the state? The uncle who lost a few fingers messing around in the garage as a kid, not a civilian?

Again: If you work daily and pay your bills you are a civilian...

And if I'm unemployed, that makes me a combatant? Really?

Think for a minute about the things that come out of your mouth.

Re:RSB (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40931485)

Yes dick-head. Quote the example only...

"... if you have a Bomb you are NOT a civilian."

Should I add (since you are dumb...): if you intentionally blow yourself up to kill other people in the process you are a Soldier. You are waging war, you are a terrorist, you are a soldier.

Re:RSB (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40931531)

Yes, I think I got it: if you work daily, pay your bills, and have a bomb then you are both a civilian and not a civilian. Makes perfect sense.

Re:RSB (1)

dcollins (135727) | about 2 years ago | (#40931895)

"If you work daily and pay your bills you are a civilian..."

Thank you for the seed of a capitalist dystopia sci-fi story. Let's hope we never actually get there.

Re:RSB (1)

schlachter (862210) | about 2 years ago | (#40930953)

kamikaze 2.0

who will the USGov be compared with... (1)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about 2 years ago | (#40930359)

for aggression and state terrorism, the Nazis or the WWII Japanese ? This business has a very bad feeling to it ... like when Nixon was offering military weapons for domestic police. No knock raids could take on a whole new dimension for wrong addresses. Fooom.

Legitimate question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40930427)

That's certainly a legitimate question. The very notion of "collateral damage" -- that it is acceptable to kill innocents for the benefit of government agenda -- is automatically invalid to the honest man.

Unfortunately, we must always remember that history is written by the victor.

Re:Legitimate question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40931081)

"Unfortunately, we must always remember that history is written by the victor."

Not necessarily, remember Vietnam. America worte the "history", but America was not the victor.

Re:Legitimate question (3, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | about 2 years ago | (#40931467)

Indeed, it always bothers me greatly to hear Americans saying things like, "We're not at all like them! They're bad people! They kill innocents in the pursuit of their objectives!"

As if the US hasn't likewise declared objectives and knows damned well that they're going to be killing innocent people in the pursuit of their objectives, and has ruled them to be "acceptable losses" to achieve their objectives.

I mean, *Really*? You don't see the glaring moral hole there?

expendable (1)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about 2 years ago | (#40930381)

Such expendable weapons suggests expendable people, far worse than the landmine problem.

Re:expendable (2)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about 2 years ago | (#40930847)

Most people are expendable to the people who would deploy these weapons.

Re:expendable (2)

colesw (951825) | about 2 years ago | (#40931051)

Although unlike landmines you won't have millions of land mines sitting in the ground for decades waiting for people to step on them.

Re:expendable (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 2 years ago | (#40931377)

Mines don't discriminate and linger decades after war is finished.

Precision weapons discriminate and don't "pollute" areas after the battle.

Enemy humans are "expendable" in war. Tech has made things BETTER for most in that respect. Instead of "thousand bomber raids" WWII-style, a factory or command center may be destroyed surgically without obliterating the neighbourhoods around it

Talking Bombs (1)

grumling (94709) | about 2 years ago | (#40930399)

I remember reading a comic book years ago (not a comic book fanatic, so I didn't memorize it. Might have some details wrong), where there was a talking, intelligent bomb. A guy comes up to it, figures out that it's a bomb and it strikes up a conversation with him. It then proceeds to tell the man that it doesn't want to explode and that he can defuse it if he does exactly what the bomb says. Of course the bomb gets the last word: "SUCKER!"

Re:Talking Bombs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40930753)

It's a bit different from how you remember it but you might be thinking about the existentialist sentient planet-destroying bomb in the movie (and book) Dark Star [wikipedia.org] .

Recommended whether or not it is what you thought of.

In a similar vein there's also a much more recent techno/dance song with a bomb singing lyrics that go something like "what's my purpose in life? to explode of course!" but I don't remember the name of it or who made it.

Re:Talking Bombs (2)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about 2 years ago | (#40930893)

There was a scene like that in the movie Dark Star, as I recall. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0069945/ [imdb.com] There is a smart bomb that is going to destroy the ship, and one of the crew goes out to talk the bomb out of it.

This isn't a new concept... (2)

firesyde424 (1127527) | about 2 years ago | (#40930451)

This sounds oddly like a re-branded Cruise Missile. Don't we already have those?

Bad decision... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40930481)

Don't do that... if you implement that what can you say when the next comercial jet hits one of you buildings?! NOTHING...

This ROVs and UAVs are the wearpons of cowards... let's say you are on the other side of the war... seing unmaned vehicles killing you family/friends/comrades i would support ANY kind of atack to that terrorist nation...

Think about this how would you feel if you RPG / AAA could only "kill" machines and those same machines could kill people?

Re:Bad decision... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40930921)

Now now, American foreign policy doesn't work if you look at it from others' point of view.

Rocket Bombs and Buzz Bombs (3, Funny)

grahamlord86 (1603545) | about 2 years ago | (#40930537)

Nice to hear we now have a obscenely expensive version of the WW2 V-1 "Buzz Bomb"... or Rocket Bomb for the 1984 nerds out there... I'm amazed we even bother to deploy soldiers these days.

phone app controlled (1)

gsgriffin (1195771) | about 2 years ago | (#40930619)

They're working on a phone app to remote control these devices from the field. Android only, of course, the Apple store won't allow the app on their phones. Something about the gov not willing to spend $1000 per download

Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40930623)

We no longer need to send our young men and women into battle with a bomb strapped to their body or loaded into their car or truck.

More economic sense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40930661)

He means it is now economically feasible to make manually guided grenades. What is used in comparison to say 'more', these aren't replacing any existing weapon systems, which are now OK to be called 'robots' I guess.

The actual article is worse, how cheap is 'cheap enough' to crash a 'robot' into something and blow up? Are javelins a whole lot cheaper than I imagined? Are those robots?

Re:More economic sense? (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 years ago | (#40930999)

At $10M, you put a big bomb on it, give it great range, and only use it on the most valuable of heavily defended targets.
At $1M, you fire it at ships
At $100k, it's shot at planes, tanks and such
$10k - concentrations of enemy soldiers
$1k - individuals even.

Re:More economic sense? (1)

Rei (128717) | about 2 years ago | (#40931559)

$100 - their pets
$10 - their bicycles
$1 - their mailboxes
$0.10 - their shopping lists
$0.01 - their acne medication, toothpaste, etc.

Re:More economic sense? (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about 2 years ago | (#40931133)

I'd imagine they are MUCH cheaper than current-generation cruise missiles to manufacture.

Cruise missiles carry a jet engine. A Tomahawk costs $600,000 for one round. While these have much lower speed and performance, you could pay for whole wings of them for that kind of money. Because they are aircraft, and not just missiles, you can have them loiter near the target, exploiting their much smaller radar cross section and thermal emissions for an almost immediate strike. You could have a whole range of yields and payloads lofted simultaneously. And you can return them to base for refuelling, so you only pay for the fuel and the drones you actually put into "terminal mode". And at the same time they can gather intel.

There was a guy in New Zealand [aardvark.co.nz] who estimated that you could make a cruise missile for around $5,000 ; now there are entire online communities devoted to manufacturing UAVs and an industry to support them. The planting of anti-air missiles on the rooftops of London to "protect" the Olympic games was almost a laughing stock here in the office ; these missiles could do nothing about a "flying cluster bomb" composed of small-payload semi-autonomous UAVs.

Robots (2)

ak3ldama (554026) | about 2 years ago | (#40930967)

This is the picture of our robot facilitated science fiction future: little unmanned "planes" flying into things because we're too lazy to fly them back. No more NASA. Cut back science spending. People out of work because corporations with lots of money are sitting on their piles of cash like Scrooge McDuck and getting overly picky about who they hire: surely we can't have them trained... not even by a robot. Nope we use our robots for industrial purposes to run manufacturing more efficiently. Let 5 guys do what 50 did. Its the trickle down affect. Money flows to those at the top and barely trickles down. Thanks robots. Way to make our lives better. Maybe science fiction writers from all these recent decades should have been more pessimistic.

Paging Bomb 20... (1)

jafiwam (310805) | about 2 years ago | (#40931023)

Paging Bomb 20. Bomb 20, please pick up on frequency 4.

How about we try NOT killing people? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40931031)

I've got an idea! how about we try to NOT kill people for a little while? maybe it wont be so bad. I know, it sounds crazy. Obviously using our technological superiority to revert back to desperate tactics from WWII is a great idea, but I suggest we try my option. How about we switch the military budget with the education budget for a single year? Much better than spending billions on killing brown people in the sand by crashing drones into them..

Jhadi robots and hero robots (4, Funny)

Old97 (1341297) | about 2 years ago | (#40931113)

What happens to a robot that "martyrs" itself for the cause? Does it go somewhere where it is greeted warmly by 72 robots still in their original packaging? For other causes would their be posthumous medals awarded and parades and all? If not, then who gets the "credit"? Oh, so that's the point!

42 more reasons this is bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40931147)

It's abouit time that we started getting rid of those 3 laws that prevent our robot overloards from taking out humanity.

No different than the last 30 years or more (1)

Bugler412 (2610815) | about 2 years ago | (#40931159)

Every self guided missile, drone, cruise missile, self guided torpedo, self guided air-air missile etc. has operated this way since the beginning. The only difference now is that the tech is in reach of less financially well off entities.

Been there, done that... (2)

Anachragnome (1008495) | about 2 years ago | (#40931161)

Been there, done that...

As long as you're the General in command, War is always 'remote-control".

Weapon of the future? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40931243)

So the weapon of the future is predicted to be remote control kinetic missiles? Isn't that pretty much how some missiles work already?

Suicide belts involved? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40931399)

Could use the explosion to murder more Ayrabs

I'm a thirty second bomb! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40931415)

From Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons in 1959:
This was a special bomb, one issued to each of us for this mission with instructions to use them if we found ways to make them effective. The squawking I heard as I threw it was the bomb shouting in skinny talk (free translation): "I'm a thirty second bomb! I'm a thirty second bomb! Twenty-nine! Twenty-eight! Twenty-seven!..."

Disasembled (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40931423)

We call it "Operation got ya last."

Design meeting discussion (4, Funny)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 2 years ago | (#40931819)

I suspect the conversation went something like this:

General: Team, we need to find a way to double the range of these drones, but I don't have any additional design money for this project.

Senior Engineer: There's no room in the flight profile to double the energy storage - it would require a complete redesign.

Manager: It can't be done; we can't do this for free.
.
.
.
Junior Engineer: What if it didn't need to return?

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