ATK shows off 'palletised, plug-in' robot cannon system
From the crate to reaping fleshies in 10 minutes
US weaponry and aerospace giant Alliant Techsystems (ATK) - makers of rockets to NASA, among other things - are pleased to announce their latest gizmo: the Palletised Autonomous Weapons System (PAWS).
PAWS, according to its proud manufacturers, is:
A self-contained and autonomous armament package... [It can] aim and fire virtually any small- or medium-caliber weapon... PAWS has a simple bolt-in interface, allowing for rapid installation: the total time frame from shipping crate to firing is less than 10 minutes.
Users can mount the system to a fixed position or most any ground combat, sea or air platforms... can be powered by batteries, vehicle power or other external sources. Ammunition is fed directly from onboard containers.
By "autonomous" ATK seems to mean that the PAWS needs nothing but electricity, not that it will decide to start shooting on its own initiative. In essence, it's just another remote-controlled gun station, of the sort that are becoming very popular on armoured military vehicles.
(This is because the so-called "top cover" position - the gunner with his head and shoulders out of the hatch, manning a vehicle's heavy weapons mount - has become very dangerous. The trend now is to put the gunner inside the armour, working the weapon via a screen a console.)
The new wrinkle with PAWS is the 'unpack, plug in and start shooting in ten minutes' bit - not unlike the remote-sentry autoguns in the full-length version of Aliens. And in fact it seems plain that any owner with a modicum of technical ability could in fact make it truly autonomous, perhaps hooking it up to other crafty pieces of kit such as the Blighter backpackable man-tracker radar.
Lawks, eh? ®