USA to Send Robot Soldiers to Iraq
Category: Defence Industry
USA is planning to send in spring 2005 a first batch of 18 remore-controlled armed robots to participate in military operations in Iraq.
The deployment of new robots in Iraq is planned for March and April.
The SWORD-type robot soldiers are fitted with either M249 or M240 rifle that feature a high firing accuracy. Their ability to aim at targets and their battlefield awareness are provided by fitting them with four video cameras, a night vision device and some telescopic lenses. The robot is controlled by a purpose-trained soldier with the aid of a remote control device provided with a radio communications with the vehicle. The remote control device can be connected by means of optical fibre cable (in so doing, a better resistance to electrical interference is achieved). The control itself is quite simple, being carried out by means of a joy-stick.
The storage batteries enable the robot to operate autonomously for 4 hours. In so doing, the robot can move at a maximum speed of 6.6 km/h, negotiate various obstacles, including obstructions and staircases, as well as transporting up to 90 kg of load. The SWORD features a high degree of survivability – it is able to operate after being hit by small arms fire as well as being able to move under water.
The own weight of the robot does not exceed 45 kg, and therefore it is easy to transport.
The cost of one robot soldier is around $200,000. This is cheaper than the budget up-keeping costs of one human soldier.
The robot was developed by Foster-Miller, Inc. on the basis of the TALON™ robot which was produced for mine-clearing applications.