Robot Warfare

MAARS ground robot (NYT)

The New York Times recently had a good article on the development of robot warfare, covering surveillance drones, and actual warfighting machines, inspired, it seems, by a visit to the annual ‘Robotics Rodeo‘ held by the US military at Fort Benning in Georgia every October. These things are only going to get more common and more sophisticated… never mind that they kill plenty of civilians, they keep ‘our boys’ out of harm’s way, eh?

The drone surge

The Huffington Post has a really interesting article on the current and future use of drones (whether they be UAVs, MAVs or other things) by the US military. Judging from the early comments, it seems there are some people also think these things are great because ‘they keep US soldiers safe’ – unfortunately they don’t seem to do the same for the villagers of the impoverished countries where they are deployed. As the International Campiagn for Robotic Arms Control (ICRAC) is arguing, there needs to be an international treaty or convention to regulate the use of such machines when they are used as or part of weapons systems, but beyond that, these systems, out of theline of vision of the general public, in terms of their policy development and often their physical deployment, are seen as ‘the future of surveillance’ within many nations too – as was revealed in Britain just the other day. The military-industrial complex is now the security-industrial complex and there is a decreasing gap between military tech and its civilian counterparts…

New UAVs in Afghanistan

The USAF continues to use the Afghanistan / Pakistan conflict as a test bed for new military surveillance technologies and robotic weapons. The latest thing is apparently the RQ-170, codenamed Sentinel, which is a radar-evading UAV or drone aircraft.

This picture of the aircraft was apparently shot near Kandahar…

The Sentinel (source unknown)

It seems that as this conflict drags on, more and more of these things will get wheeled out. Its only purpose seems to have become to field test all these black-project developed technologies that the US security-industrial complex has been churning out. It wasn’t that long after the Predator drone emerged that we saw a weaponized version. It is unclear whether there is any such version of the Sentinel yet, but no doubt there will be soon enough. The increasing reliance on remote-controlled and robotic weapons seems to be a new article of faith amongst the world’s wealthier militaries.