posted on Nov, 5 2019 @ 11:47 PM
a reply to: galadofwarthethird
I'm not discounting drones at all, I just have a good understanding of what they're capable of currently, what it takes to keep them running, and the
current challenges they face.
As an example, in the real world just within the past week or two there has been one contract signed for production and delivery of military UGV's and
a second competition down select narrowing the field to 3 competitors for a second UGV development program.
The first contract was a 160'ish million dollar contract for delivery of an initial batch of 8 wheeled "mechanical mule" small cargo carrier UGV's.
These mules are unarmed, can carry about a thousand pounds of gear etc, and weigh like 3500 pounds. They're not particularly fast or "smart" and
they're still like $100,000 each. (They also represent about as good as you can get without serious bleeding edge expensive solutions)
The second contract down select was for a program known as RCV-L (robotic combat vehicle - light).
This is a program actually meant to eventually end up with a fieldable armed combat UGV. In this context "light" also means something that's probably
gonna be no less than 3 tons And probably something substantially more than that!
As an example, one of the 3 entries that got selected for further development is the GDLS/Howe and Howe M5 which is essentially their old ripsaw high
speed tracked vehicle now massively beefed up and including a pretty hefty turret designed for a pretty substantial main gun. No prices per unit were
even hinted at when it comes to this program but it'd be foolish to think that each platform will be anywhere close to under a million dollars a
The thing to note from all of this is anything resembling a viable military UGV right now needs to be about these sizes to be even remotely close to
affordable / capable and useful. If you tried to make them any smaller their costs would spiral through the roof astonishingly quickly.
The other thing to note is they just aren't all that gee whiz capable, in fact they're just barely capable enough to start maybe being a useful tool
that isn't more liability than asset.
UGV's are hard. In most ways multiple orders of magnitude harder than UAV's.