Feeds

US Army's robot kill-chopper chopped

Droid tank survives, though

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The US Army's plans for powerful robotic combat formations have been downgraded, according to reports. A pilotless helicopter gunship and droid ground vehicles intended to carry supplies and clear mines have been axed: however a robot tank project and other automated weaponry will proceed.

Armed Robotic Vehicle, Assault, Light (ARV-A-L). You don't want to meet ARV-A Heavy.

Aggrieved by the demise of its whirlybird buddy, the droid tank

wrought terrible vengeance.

Wired magazine reports on the cuts, affecting the interlinked series of tech programmes once known as "Future Combat Systems". This was intended to deliver a panoply of robotic and manned aircraft, vehicles and equipment linked together by a high-capacity, totally secure wireless networking system.

The plans ballooned in cost and complexity, however, and in the end were severely trimmed and renamed "Brigade Combat Team Modernisation". However various bits and pieces remained, including the Class IV Unmanned Air Vehicle - a small helicopter modified by removing the cockpit for obsolete human pilots and using the payload for an impressive array of armament - and the robotic MULE (Multifunction Utility/Logistics and Equipment) vehicle.

Now, however, the Class IV kill-copter is dead as far as the Army is concerned - though it may yet see service with the US Navy and/or Coast Guard. Two of the little robochoppers can fit into the same hangar space as a light maritime helicopter, making them an attractive option for frigates and patrol cutters which can normally carry only one or two aircraft.

The mine-clearance and kit-carrying versions of the MULE are now gone, too. However the armed version of the vehicle - the Armed Robotic Vehicle Assault Light (ARV-A-L) - which will offer "both anti-tank and anti-personnel weapons platforms that will be remotely operated by network linked Soldiers" - stays in the programme.

All the cuts have been dictated by politicians in Washington, rather than by the Army itself.

Meanwhile it has recently been announced that the earliest, smallest elements of "Brigade Combat Team Modernisation" - namely a small hovering camera bot, a backpack-size groundcrawler job, fridge-sized crates of cruise missiles, scatterable sensors and underlying network gear - are now "in production". ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.