This stuff look like it came from KB Toys but it probably does help them out a lot.
Look like they came from a toy shop. And it should be very easy to envision the ten kinds of hell they could raise if properly kitted out with either
direct command or acoustic/olfactory/IR homing sensors (imagine, mines that go -to- children).
I could not believe it when I first saw these advertised as 'most popular toys on CNN'.
ARLINGTON, VA - AUGUST 12: United States Army Rapid Equipping Force (REF) Director Col. Gregory Tubbs (at podium) introduces the Multi-Function Agile
Remote-Controlled Robot (MARCBOT), a small robot on four wheels that has a video camera lens for eyes, during a press conference August 12, 2005 at
the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. MARCBOT and other examples of the latest portable military technologies soldiers are using in the global war on
terrorism were on display. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
It's stupid. Because it's wheel:wheel frontal footprint is too wide to go through an easily blocked door and it has suspension lift or arms to go
over, twist itself sideways past or crawl up obstacles like stairs. Unlike Packbot which can 'slinky flip' MARCBOT's vulnerable sensor mast
probably makes it a limited selfrighting system and I see no real sign of heavy weight mounts for additional armor-plexi or weapons mounts.
You can't refuse to weaponize a system that is intended to go into harms way simply to keep the muzzle mutts usefully employed (laughing their asses
off) as it gets butchered 'on point'.
This THROWBOT looks like it would be pretty good.
Six of one. Infantry combat, except in assault, actually is fairly static across some fairly long lines of sight. Or too killsack choked thru some
very short ones. You've probably seen news shots of Marines sitting atop an M249 or M60 looking out a window at another target building 200m away.
And perhaps even a few of soldiers doing 'up the stair well' MOUT training.
Both are illustrative of what happens when you make contact and don't want to or cannot break it. And so have _very little time or space_ to go
playing RC Car Killer.
Even if the vehicle can be deployed, your ability to push out a secure directional RF link any distance (or to alternately drag even a thin cable
command line) is going to be iffy while the two-wheel 'juggernaut' design also leaves a lot to be desired as a function of aligning what looks like
a flip-over camera lens after a braked stop. Especially while negotiating a rubbled concrete or cratered mudscape with that tiny ass tread and again,
limited ground clearance.
Indeed, even /the need/ to 'go have a looksee' is relative to what you expect to do when you get there.
You certainly aren't going to be doing a capture mission with this thing.
My big wants in an infantry sensor mission are:
1. Rapid Erection/Wide FOV.
2. Cheap And Light.
3. Throwaway Without Counterexploitation.
As an element of rapid fire finding and movement tracking/suppression. NONE of which imply the need to go looking for trouble. Since, as an
American, it has most likely been waiting for me to blunder offensively into it's engagement zone.
What I want then is the option to stick a nailgun type device up to a wall or ceiling and punch a hardened tube through it with a fiberoptic relay
sensor behind the penetrator not unlike what surgeons use on a football player's knee-
Or use something like a shuffleboard mallet to push out a 360` system that looks like a hockey puck or fire detector-
Since with these kinds of tools, all of them light enough to hump, all of them cheap enough to blow a microcharge on the CPU with on (or simply leave
imbedded in that brick or stone wall), all of them employable without lifting some dumb 'gun camera' over a protective LOS block.
I can get the enemy's number without undue warning or back-atcha exposure of ANY asset as a function of triangulating off of first-burst
acoustic/q-pulse, IR or RF plasma squeal on MULTIPLE muzzle signatures.
Before rapid suppressing with a remote operated 'sentry gun' (SWORDS with M107) targets that I normally wouldn't even be able to /see/ any better
than the poor grunts running for cover.
Now, if these 'inconspicuous' bots would like to go out and do this kind of emplacement mission before a time-fixed objective event, that's one
thing but for a sweep or patrol mission it's just going to take too long. And I frankly don't even see any tool-arm capability.
While I generally laud the armed forces attempt to roboticize the battlefield, man having long since been obsolesced by the very weapons he sells to
his enemies, I don't believe they are pulling men from the pointy end fast enough as a function of weaponized kill platforms able to REPLACE that TOE
billet. Nor do I think they have a cohesive idea as to what these systems are going to do as utility mission platforms.
Can a bot dump smoke or CS gas like a tanks mortars to protect the squad from sudden ambush fire in a couple seconds?
Can it carry a tank with sprayon explosive sufficient to pop a new door into a wall?
Can it mount tazers and flashbangs by the ten count so that any civillians in a room are only 'stunned' not dead when the 2-3 goats among the sheep
decide to spray a room down with autofire?
Can it go out into a street and pull junior and his severed bodyparts back under cover so that a medic doesn't have to?
Can it /act/ as a combat medic, with a general FOV camera link and surgical quality (gyrostabilized with steady, precise, closeup FO CAM for
investigative probing as well as cut and stitch?) teleoperated armature?
Can it run for ammo through a hail of bullets or even recover weapons from the battlefield for own force exploitation?
Can it act like a Goliath and run UNDER (alongside, whatever) a technical, tank or obstacle with a satchel charge?
Can you fit it with olfactory chemical and masted EO sensors, along with a voice translator, to go independent roving down a sidestreet (UAV top
covered and command link relayed) looking for that bomb making facility you 'know is somewhere in this neighborhood'?
It's all well and good to show toys to a press audience. But my definition of the combat services FINALLY admitting that man needs to begin crooking
himself out from the staged drama of combat will come when I can _definitively see_ one of two things inherent to the shape and or equipment function
of a UGV-
1. A mission which man doesn't need to do because it is dumb/dull/dirty without being so common as to justify a training billet.
2. A mission which is so dangerous/exposed/heavy that ONLY automated reflexes driven by automated sensors weapons-system X under heavy armor can
nominally accomplish it.
Toys are still toys, no matter what shade of OD or techno-chrome and black you paint them. You will recognize the first Terminator when you see it.
And know that your day as top killer has ended such that it's time for the guy with the pocket protector and the Big Thumbs to step to the fore in
driving the doctrine (logistics of organization) as much as tactics (types and maneuver geometries of fire) that is 'modern war'.
I guarantee you, these are not them.