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? ®
a small Phalanx/Goalkeeper then? How original...
Combination of the drone idea, perhaps launched from onboard the vehicle, with a camera array and software to collate and process the live video images from the camera array into a 3D view accessible through glasses/monacle/goggles with a sensor to detect head movement and pan the view automatically perhaps?
The drone there to provide overhead view to see behind cover and just generally get an overview of a wider area.
If the hardware and software could be made to work and fitted into a tank it would give you a completely unobstructed view, without any exposure at all. Of course the trouble is the cameras themselves would still be vulnerable, and the software would have to be designed to compensate for any failure as much as possible.
RE: Anonymous Coward
The problem would be making it retractable and then fitting it to current vehicles. If you look at the US and Isareli vehicles, most solutions are tacked onto existing designs. The US has a number of kits for Hummers including open-topped turrets with glass-armoured faces (still vulnerable to the old Molotov cocktail or grenade from above). The Israelis have a whole range of "engineering vehicles" which are basically old T-55s and Centurions with the turrets removed and replaced with square superstructures made predominantly of armoured glass. Modern lamintaed glass can even be made RPG-proof, but a dome would be very heavy and also not optically flat, which could cause some aiming issues. Flat bulletproof glass is relatively cheap and easy to make - curves are not. Mind you, a live feed from an overhead drone would go a long way to compensating for losing the cupola, and a palletised remote gun system could easily replace the turret on such vehicles as the Bradley APC.
I still prefer the option of having politicians scout ahead of our boys, it would probably make them a lot less eager to go to war int the first place!