"Its nice we have those, but couldnt you just throw a GRENADE and blow it up?"
You haven't been working in IED disposal long, have you?
Seriously, what do you think the danger zone for an IED is like compared to how far you can accurately throw a grenade?
He actually has a bit of a point, as any device is built, you either exploit a specific weakness or increase the firepower required to destroy it. I
doubt if a SWORDS unit could survive the equivalent of the German multihead stick grenade, even as it's ability to defeat an IED which destroys
hummers is impossible to justify.
The difference, as I allude to before is how you _selectively_ armor them against a threat which it has assymetric dominance over as well as how you
deploy them, tactically.
The best tank killers are NOT tanks but airplanes or missiles which can destroy the AFV without ever being engaged by it. So too are the best
man-killers going to be robots which are never alive and thus have no real value (of intimidation/counter) when a man is forced to risk his life
Yet if you employ these vehicles as fast scouts to motor along the median or verge of a highway looking for IED, you are putting them in a position
whereby an enemy insurgent has nothing to lose by destroying them (certainly not his fingerprint laden mine) 'anyway' and so they had better be very
Similarly, if I want to fight professional infantry with a mutt force, the only thing I'm going to do is put enough of my people in a room to get the
bad guys to force the entry and then sterilize the volume when enough are inside (while my men are safe in spiderhole tunnels to the outside). Or
worse, use that structure as the focal point of a VBIED attack when a tank comes up to 'argue the point'.
It is in THESE scenarios that you want to have a SWORDS or similar. Because, rather than enter themselves; you can use them as sniper proof scouts
which circle the building (itself a defilad mask to further fires from inside a city) and either bag the guys coming up to observe and detonate the
explosives or catch the rats trying to flee out the back.
With a masted sensor and/or small grenade launcher, you also gain the ability to 'clear and clean' rooftops _without exposing the robot or the
capture team_ to principle fires.
It is only by leveraging costs with _maneuver doctrine_ and advanced combat theory that orders the battlefield AROUND these systems as centerpiece
(primary) assets that you can stay ahead of the game _on a budget_.
Effectively you must say then something like this:
"Okay, the battlefield is too randomly dangerous for man, so....no guys forward of this line, how do I best use the 1/3rd as many combat robots in my
TOE without having them all get wasted in the first day and be forced to fall back on an infantry force with atrophied SUW skills?"
If Iraq had half as many casualties and 1/4 of the current investment in blown materiel repair costs; nobody would pay no never mind as to whether it
was a cesspool of corrupt savages hell-bent on butchering each other for the worlds 'shock and awe shucks' entertainment or not.
And since OOTW looks to be the status quo until someone 'declares victory' in the GWOT/GSAVE; we MUST move towards a minimum battlefield exposure at
maximum tactical yield in all fighting. i.e. Rather than piss and moan at not having 300,000 men on the field, we must make 30-60,000 fight with
equal weigth of _effective_ fires.
Using robots like infantry or tanks is going to result in the SOS of like-methods=like attrition. Using robots like robots (figuring out what that
/means/ on the risk vs. gain scale of aggressive maneuver) is where the 'next step' in combat arms should be headed.