Feeds

US Army's robot kill-chopper chopped

Droid tank survives, though

Business security measures using SSL

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
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize
Is there ANYTHING cured pork can't do?
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.